Progression of Gait Ataxia in Patients with Degenerative Cerebellar Disorders: a 4-Year Follow-Up Study

Mariano Serrao, Giorgia Chini, Carlo Casali, Carmela Conte, Martina Rinaldi, Alberto Ranavolo, Christian Marcotulli, Luca Leonardi, Gaia Fragiotta, Fabiano Bini, Gianluca Coppola, Francesco Pierelli

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In the present study, the progression of gait impairment in a group of patients with primary degenerative cerebellar ataxias was observed over a period of 4 years. A total of 30 patients underwent an initial gait analysis study, and thereafter only 12 were evaluated because they completed the 2- and 4-year follow-up evaluations. Time-distance parameters, trunk and joint range of motion (RoM), and variability parameters (e.g., coefficients of variation) were measured at the baseline and at each follow-up evaluation. The scale for the assessment and rating of ataxia (SARA) was used to evaluate disease severity. We found a significant increase in the SARA score at both the 2- and 4-year follow-up evaluations. Almost all the gait variables changed significantly only at the 4-year follow-up. Particularly, we found a significant decrease in the step length and in the hip, knee, and ankle joint RoM values and noted a significant increase in the trunk rotation RoM and stride-to-stride and step length variability. Furthermore, a significant difference in ankle joint RoM was found between spinocerebellar ataxia and sporadic adult-onset ataxia patients, with the value being lower in the former group of patients. Our findings suggest that patients with degenerative cerebellar ataxias exhibit gait decline after 4 years from the baseline. Moreover, patients try to maintain an effective gait by adopting different compensatory mechanisms during the course of the disease in spite of disease progression.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Dec 6 2016


  • Journal Article


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