Background and purpose: The Balance Evaluation Systems Test(BESTest) has been shown to be a reliable and valid measure of balance in individuals with Parkinson disease (PD). A less time-consuming assessment may increase clinical utility. We compared the discriminative fall risk ability of the Mini-BESTest with that of the BESTest and determined the reliability and normal distribution of scores for each section of the BESTest and the Mini-BESTest in individuals with PD.
Methods: Eighty individuals with idiopathic PD were assessed using the BESTest and Mini-BESTest. A faller was defined as an individual with 2 or more falls in the prior 6 months. Subsets of individuals were used to determine interrater (n = 15) and test-retest reliability (n = 24).
Results: The Mini-BESTest, total BESTest score, and all sections of the BESTest showed a significant difference between the average scores of fallers and nonfallers. For both the Mini-BESTest and BESTest, interrater (intraclass correlation ICC ≥ 0.91) and test-retest (ICC ≥ 0.88) reliability was high. The Mini-BESTest and BESTest were highly correlated (r = 0.955). Accuracy of identifying a faller was comparable for the Mini-BESTest and BESTest (area under the receiver operating characteristic plots = 0.86 and 0.84, respectively).
Discussion: No specific section of the BESTest captured the primary balance deficit for individuals with PD. The posttest probabilities for discriminating fallers versus nonfallers were comparable-to-slightly stronger when using the Mini-BESTest.
Conclusion: Although the Mini-BESTest has fewer than half of the items in the BESTest and takes only 15 minutes to complete, it is as reliable as the BESTest and has comparable-to-slightly greater discriminative properties for identifying fallers in individuals with PD.