Balance measures for fall risk screening in community-dwelling older adults with COPD: A longitudinal analysis Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) increases fall risk, but consensus is lacking on suitable balance measures for fall risk screening in this group. We aimed to evaluate the reliability and validity of balance measures for fall risk screening in community-dwelling older adults with COPD. METHODS: In a secondary analysis of two studies, participants, aged ≥60 years with COPD and 12-month fall history or balance issues were tracked for 12-month prospective falls. Baseline balance measures - Brief Balance Evaluation Systems Test (Brief BESTest), single leg stance (SLS), Timed Up and Go (TUG), and TUG Dual-Task (TUG-DT) test - were assessed using intra-class correlation (ICC2,1) for reliability, Pearson/Spearman correlation with balance-related factors for convergent validity, t-tests/Wilcoxon rank-sum tests with fall-related and disease-related factors for known-groups validity, and area under the receiver operator characteristic curve (AUC) for predictive validity. RESULTS: Among 174 participants (73 ± 8 years; 86 females) with COPD, all balance measures showed excellent inter-rater and test-retest reliability (ICC2,1 = 0.88-0.97) and moderate convergent validity (r = 0.34-0.77) with related measures. Brief BESTest and SLS test had acceptable known-groups validity (p < 0.05) for 12-month fall history, self-reported balance problems, and gait aid use. TUG test and TUG-DT test discriminated between groups based on COPD severity, supplemental oxygen use, and gait aid use. All measures displayed insufficient predictive validity (AUC<0.70) for 12-month prospective falls. CONCLUSION: Though all four balance measures demonstrated excellent reliability, they lack accuracy in prospectively predicting falls in community-dwelling older adults with COPD. These measures are best utilized within multi-factorial fall risk assessments for this population.


  • Nguyen, Khang T
  • Brooks, Dina
  • Macedo, Luciana
  • Ellerton, Cindy
  • Goldstein, Roger
  • Alison, Jennifer A
  • Dechman, Gail
  • Harrison, Samantha L
  • Holland, Anne E
  • Lee, Annemarie L
  • Marques, Alda
  • Spencer, Lissa
  • Stickland, Michael K
  • Skinner, Elizabeth H
  • Haines, Kimberley J
  • Beauchamp, Marla

publication date

  • August 2024

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