What are the risk factors for impaired balance control in COPD?
Balance impairment in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may be directly related to old age, coronary artery disease, increased Timed Up and Go (TUG), and reduced 6-minute walk distance (6MWD), according to a study presented at the 21st Congress of the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR 2016) in Bangkok, Thailand.
The study included 102 patients with stable COPD aged ≥60 years. Balance was evaluated using the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), wherein a score of ≤46 indicated a deficit in balance control.
Of the patients, 27.5 percent had impaired balance. Demographic data, disease-related characteristics, TUG and 6MWD were compared between patients with impaired and nonimpaired balance.
A multivariable logistic regression model showed that the odds of having impaired balance were greater among COPD patients who were older (age ≥80 years; odds ratio [OR], 6.90; 95 percent CI, 1.23 to 38.54; by 2.74; p=0.028), with coronary artery disease (OR, 6.39; 1.06 to 38.65; p=0.043), had 6MWD <300 m (OR, 13.57; 1.87 to 98.24; p=0.010) and had TUG ≥13.5 sec (OR, 9.15; 1.76 to 47.54; p=0.008).
Female gender had a nonsignificant association with balance impairment (OR, 3.43; 0.59 to 19.82; p=0.169).
“The model explained 71.1 percent of the variance in balance impairment,” researchers said.
COPD is a common preventable and treatable disease, characterized by persistent airflow limitation. This disease occurs comorbidly with many non-respiratory conditions such as skeletal muscle dysfunction, systemic inflammation, nutritional depletion, malnutrition, as well as balance control deficit.
Evidence suggests that the ability to maintain stability and balance is essential for functional independence in activities of daily living, mobility and for avoiding falls. An increased risk of falls can lead to a higher mortality rate among older adults. [PLoS One 2015;10:e0120573]
Given the findings, balance testing should be included in routine assessment of COPD in order to prevent falls and reduce its devastating consequences, researchers said.