We aimed to investigate the construct validity of the Timed Up & Go (TUG) test in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), to identify characteristics related to an abnormal TUG time and to examine the responsiveness of the TUG to pulmonary rehabilitation (PR). TUG time was assessed before and after comprehensive PR in 500 COPD patients, and compared cross-sectionally in 100 non-COPD subjects. Physical health outcomes, mental health outcomes, symptom-related outcomes and multidimensional indices were assessed in COPD patients only. Good convergent and discriminant validity was demonstrated by fair-to-moderate correlation with physical health outcomes, symptom-related outcomes and multidimensional indices ( rs = 0.18-0.70) and by little correlation with mental health outcomes ( rs = 0.21-0.26). COPD patients had a worse TUG time than non-COPD subjects, demonstrating known-groups validity. A TUG time of 11.2 seconds had good sensitivity (0.75) and specificity (0.83) for identifying patients with a baseline 6-minute walk distance <350 m. TUG time improved after PR ( p < 0.0001) and a change of 0.9-1.4 seconds was identified as clinically important. The TUG is valid and responsive in COPD. An abnormal result is indicative of poor health outcomes. This simple test provides valuable information and can be adopted in clinical and research settings.
Keywords: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; outcome assessment (healthcare); rehabilitation.