Objective: To assess the likelihood of clinical tests for postural balance, walking and motor skills, performed during the first week after stroke, identifying the risk of falling.
Design: Prospective study.
Subjects: Patients with first stroke.
Methods: Assessments were carried out during the first week, and the occurrence of falls was recorded 3, 6 and 12 months after stroke onset. The tests used were: 10-Metre Walking Test (10MWT), Timed Up & Go, Swedish Postural Assessment Scale for Stroke Patients, Berg Balance Scale and Modified Motor Assessment Scale. Cut-off levels were obtained by receiver operation characteristic curves, and odds ratios were used to assess cut-off levels for falling.
Results: The analyses were based on 96 patients. Forty-eight percent had at least one fall during the first year. All tests were associated with the risk of falling. The highest predictive values were found for the 10MWT (positive predictive value 64%, negative predictive value 76%). Those subjects who were unable to perform the 10MWT had the highest odds ratio, 6.06 (95% confidence interval 2.66-13.84, p<0.001) of falling.
Conclusion: Clinical tests used during the first week after stroke onset can, to some extent, identify those patients at risk of falling during the first year after stroke.