Serum bicarbonate levels and gait abnormalities in older adults: a cross-sectional study

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Metabolic acidosis is associated with impaired physical function in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and older adults. However, whether acidosis is associated with gait abnormalities has received little attention. In a cohort of 323 community-dwelling adults ≥ 65 years old who underwent quantitative gait analysis, we examined associations of serum bicarbonate with eight individual gait variables. After multivariable adjustment, participants in the lowest bicarbonate tertile (< 25 mEq/L) had 8.6 cm/s slower speed (95% confidence interval [CI] 3.2–13.9), 7.9 cm shorter stride length (95% CI 3.5–12.2), and 0.03 s longer double support time (95% CI 0.002–0.1) compared with those in the middle tertile (25–27 mEq/L). Furthermore, lower bicarbonate levels were associated with more severe gait abnormalities in a graded manner. After further adjustment for possible mediating factors, associations were attenuated but remained significant. Among participants with CKD, associations were of similar or greater magnitude compared with those without CKD. Factor analysis was performed to synthesize the individual gait variables into unifying domains: among the pace, rhythm, and variability domains, lower serum bicarbonate was associated with worse performance in pace. In sum, lower serum bicarbonate was independently associated with worse performance on several quantitative measures of gait among older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9171
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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