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DOI: 10.1101/2023.05.18.23290052

Reliability of force plate-based measures of standing balance in the sub-acute stage of post-stroke recovery

R.Aryan E. Inness K. K. Patterson G. Mochizuki A. Mansfield
Background: Difficulty controlling balance is one of the major contributors to the increased risk of falls among individuals with stroke. It is important to use reliable and objective measures to evaluate balance impairments post-stroke to inform more effective post-stroke rehabilitation. Objectives: To examine the relative and absolute reliabilities of force plate-based balance measures in quiet standing, in the sub-acute stage of stroke recovery. Methods: Twenty-four people with sub-acute stroke (mean age=61 years) performed two trials of quiet standing, each 30 seconds long. Sixteen force plate-based balance measures in the time, frequency, or nonlinear domains were calculated. Within-session test-retest reliabilities were investigated using intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), standard error of measurement, and minimal detectable change. Results: Mean speed of displacements of the centre of pressure along the anterior-posterior axis (ICC=0.91; CI95%=[0.83, 0.95]), and directional weight-bearing asymmetry (ICC=0.91; CI95%=[0.82, 0.95]) demonstrated high relative reliabilities, followed by the speed-based symmetry index and absolute weight-bearing asymmetry (both ICCs=0.86; CI95%=[0.74, 0.93]). Conclusions: Mean speeds of centre of pressure, directional weight-bearing asymmetry, and speed-based symmetry index are the most reliable measures that can be included in the balance assessments of individuals within the sub-acute stage of post-stroke recovery. These findings can better inform clinicians about the specific balance problems experienced by people in this population.