Longitudinal Walking Analysis in Hemiparetic Patients Using Wearable Motion Sensors: Is There Convergence Between Body Sides?
Background: Longitudinal movement parameter analysis of hemiparetic patients over several months could reveal potential recovery trends and help clinicians adapting therapy strategies to maximize recovery outcome. Wearable sensors offer potential for day-long movement recordings in realistic rehabilitation settings including activities of daily living, e.g., walking. The measurement of walking-related movement parameters of affected and non-affected body sides are of interest to determine mobility and investigate recovery trends.
Methods: By comparing movement of both body sides, recovery trends across the rehabilitation duration were investigated. We derived and validated selected walking segments from free-living, day-long movement by using rules that do not require data-based training or data annotations. Automatic stride segmentation using peak detection was applied to walking segments. Movement parameters during walking were extracted, including stride count, stride duration, cadence, and sway. Finally, linear regression models over each movement parameter were derived to forecast the moment of convergence between body sides. Convergence points were expressed as duration and investigated in a patient observation study.
Results: Convergence was analyzed in walking-related movement parameters in an outpatient study including totally 102 full-day recordings of inertial movement data from 11 hemiparetic patients. The recordings were performed over several months in a day-care centre. Validation of the walking extraction method from sensor data yielded sensitivities up to 80 % and specificity above 94 % on average. Comparison of automatically and manually derived movement parameters showed average relative errors below 6 % between affected and non-affected body sides. Movement parameter variability within and across patients was observed and confirmed by case reports, reflecting individual patient behavior.
Conclusion: Convergence points were proposed as intuitive metric, which could facilitate training personalization for patients according to their individual needs. Our continuous movement parameter extraction and analysis, was feasible for realistic, day-long recordings without annotations. Visualizations of movement parameter trends and convergence points indicated that individual habits and patient therapies were reflected in walking and mobility. Context information of clinical case reports supported trend and convergence interpretation. Inconsistent convergence point estimation suggested individually varying deficiencies. Long-term recovery monitoring using convergence points could support patient-specific training strategies in future remote rehabilitation.