Chester Step Test (CST)
What it measures:
Estimated maximal oxygen consumption capacity (V2max) as a measure of aerobic fitness.(1)
This summary contains information on the use of this test in adult patients or clients with all diagnoses and populations. The Chester Step Test (CST) can be revised for administration to individuals of different heights by altering the step height. This summary includes information on different versions of the test with multiple step heights.(2,3)
CST is a reliable, valid, and low-cost test that can be used in many clinical settings. Advantages of CST over other step tests and self-paced walking tests include a modifiable step height based on an individual's fitness, use of a small evaluation space, external pacing, and short completion time. CST can be performed safely in a small clinic room, at home, the workplace, and other community settings. Physical therapists performing the CST must use sound clinical judgment when deciding what step height and increment of cadence to use with each patient. Lower steps of 15 cm and 20 cm may be used to obtain accurate data, while increasing patient safety for patients in hospital settings or those with chronic diseases. A 10 cm step may be used to accommodate patients with severe obesity, lower extremity impairments, or cardiopulmonary impairments. Individuals on medications, such as beta-blockers, may respond inaccurately to CST. Therefore, caution must be taken when physical therapists are performing CST on patients taking beta-blockers. It is recommended that the test be performed as instructed whenever possible. Deviations from CST's original protocol may compromise its validity and reliability.(14)
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