Validity of balance and mobility screening tests for assessing fall risk in COPD Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have balance impairments and an increased risk of falls. The psychometric properties of short balance tests to inform fall risk assessment in COPD are unknown. Our objective was to determine the validity (concurrent, convergent, and known-groups) of short balance and mobility tests for fall risk screening. Participants with COPD aged ≥ 60 years attended a single assessment. Correlation coefficients described the relationships between the Brief Balance Evaluation Systems Test (Brief BESTest), Single-Leg Stance (SLS), Timed Up and Go (TUG), and Timed Up and Go Dual-Task (TUG-DT) tests, with the comprehensive Berg Balance Scale (BBS), chair-stand test, and measures of exercise tolerance, functional limitation, disability, and prognosis. Independent t-tests or Mann–Whitney U tests were used to examine differences between groups with respect to fall risk. Receiver operating characteristic curves examined the ability of the screening tests to identify individuals with previous falls. A total of 86 patients with COPD completed the study (72.9 ± 6.8 years; forced expiratory volume in 1 second: 47.3 ± 20.3% predicted). The Brief BESTest identified individuals who reported a previous fall (area under the curve (AUC) = 0.715, p = 0.001), and the SLS showed borderline acceptable accuracy in identifying individuals with a fall history (AUC = 0.684, p = 0.004). The strongest correlations were found for the Brief BESTest and SLS with the BBS ( r = 0.80 and r = 0.72, respectively) and between the TUG and TUG-DT with the chair-stands test ( r = 0.73 and r = 0.70, respectively). The Brief BESTest and SLS show the most promise as balance screening tools for fall risk assessment in older adults with COPD. These tests should be further evaluated prospectively.

publication date

  • January 1, 2020