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  1. Bisca, Gianna Waldrich MSc
  2. Fava, Lucas Rodrigues PT
  3. Morita, Andrea Akemi MSc
  4. Machado, Felipe Vilaca Cavallari PT
  5. Pitta, Fabio PhD
  6. Hernandes, Nidia Aparecida PhD


Purpose: 4-meter gait speed (4MGS) is increasingly used to assess functional performance in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. However, the current literature lacks information regarding some technical standards for this test. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare and to evaluate the interrater reliability between a stopwatch and video recording used as timing systems for the 4MGS in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as to verify the interrater reliability between 2 observers measuring the 4MGS time using a manual stopwatch.


Methods: Fifty-one patients performed the 4MGS using 4 different protocols (random order): walking at the usual and maximum speed in a 4-meter course and walking at the same 2 speeds on an 8-m course using a 2-m acceleration zone, a 4-meter timing area, and a 2-m deceleration zone. Gait speed was measured simultaneously using a stopwatch and a video recording. In a subanalysis (n = 24), 2 independent observers timed the 4MGS using a stopwatch.


Results: There was no significant difference in comparison between the 2 timing methods (P > .05 for all), and the reliability between video recording and stopwatch was excellent in all 4MGS studied protocols (intraclass correlation coefficient >= 0.91). Moreover, when comparing gait speed measured by 2 observers using a stopwatch, no significant difference was found among all proposed protocols (P > .05 for all), and there was also excellent reliability between the 2 independent observers (intraclass correlation coefficient >= 0.94).


Conclusion: The stopwatch, a low-cost and feasible tool, is reliable as a timing device for the 4MGS in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.