Gait Speed and Dismobility in Older Adults

Glenn V. Ostir, Ivonne M. Berges, Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, Steve R. Fisher, Erik Barr, J. Richard Hebel, Jack M. Guralnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objectives To classify hospitalized older patients with slow gait speed, and test the hypothesis that slow gait speed or dismobility is associated with increased mortality risk. Design Prospective study. Setting Acute care geriatric hospital unit. Participants Older patients (N=289) admitted to a geriatric hospital unit. Intervention Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures Two-year survival determined by medical record review and a search of the National Death Index. Results Most of the older patients were women (61.6%) and non-Hispanic white (72.3%). A total of 213 older patients (73.7%) had gait speeds ≤&0.6m/s and were classified with dismobility; 17% (49/289) of the sample died during the 2-year follow-up. All but 5 deaths occurred in older patients with dismobility. Older patients with dismobility were more than 2.5 times as likely to die than those with gait speeds 60m/s (hazard ratio, 2.60; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-6.77), after adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, and comorbidity. Conclusions A simple and quick screen for gait speed was evaluated in this study of hospitalized older patients. A clinical classification of dismobility could provide the inpatient health care team with meaningful information about the older patients' underlying health conditions and future prognosis, and provides an opportunity to discuss and implement treatment options with patients and their families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1641-1645
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Aging
  • Gait
  • Mobility limitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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