A TUG Value Longer Than 11 s Predicts Fall Risk at 6-Month in Individuals with COPD

J Clin Med. 2019 Oct 22;8(10):1752. doi: 10.3390/jcm8101752.


Risk of a fall is increased in individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and is usually evaluated using the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), but this is difficult to perform in everyday clinical practice. We aimed to prospectively predict short-term fall recurrence in COPD patients using a predetermined cut-off value of the Timed Up and Go test (TUG). In stable COPD patients, we collected self-reported records of the number of falls in the previous year, and measured TUG and BBS scores for each individual. Records of fall recurrence were obtained prospectively at 6-months after the initial evaluation. Among the 50 patients recruited, 23 (46%) had at least one fall during the past year. The optimal diagnosis value for the TUG to detect a fall was 10.9 s with a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 97%. A cut-off of 11 s predicted fall recurrence with high sensitivity and specificity (93% and 74%, respectively). The TUG as well as the BBS score detected fallers, and a cut-off value of 11 s predicted fall recurrence. TUG could be easily incorporated into the scheduled functional evaluations of COPD patients, could predict the risk of a fall and when appropriate, could guide specific balance training exercises to prevent fall.

Keywords: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Fall; Hypoxia; Postural balance; Risk factor; Timed Up and Go test.