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Keywords:

  • Parkinson's disease;
  • postural instability;
  • falls;
  • static and dynamic posturography

ABSTRACT

Various clinical tests and balance scales have been used to assess postural stability and the risk of falling in patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD). Quantitative posturography allows a more objective assessment but the findings in previous studies have been inconsistent and few studies have investigated which posturographic measures correlate best with a history of falling. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of clinical tests, balance scales, and stable-platform posturography in detecting postural instability and discriminating between fallers and non-fallers in a home-dwelling PD cohort. Forty-eight PD subjects (Hoehn & Yahr stage 1–3) and 17 age-matched controls had the following assessments: Activities-specific Balance Confidence scale, Berg Balance Scale, Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) (motor), pull-test, timed up-and-go, static posturography, and dynamic posturography to assess multidirectional leaning balance. Of the clinical assessments, all but the pull-test were closely correlated with a history of falling. Static posturography discriminated between PD fallers and controls but not between PD fallers and non-fallers, whereas dynamic posturography (reaction time, velocity, and target hit-time) also discriminated between fallers and non-fallers. Our findings suggest that this combination of clinical and posturographic measures would be useful in the prospective assessment of falls risk in PD patients. A further prospective study is now required to assess their predictive value. © 2013 Movement Disorder Society