Background: Falls are a major cause of injuries in older adults. To evaluate the risk of falls in older adults, clinical assessments such as the 5-time sit-to-stand (5xSTS) test can be performed. The development of inertial measurement units (IMUs) has provided the possibility of a more in-depth analysis of the movements' biomechanical characteristics during this test. The goal of the present study was to investigate whether an instrumented 5xSTS test provides additional information to predict multiple or serious falls compared to the conventional stopwatch-based method.
Methods: Data from 458 community-dwelling older adults were analyzed. The participants were equipped with an IMU on the trunk to extract temporal, kinematic, kinetic, and smoothness movement parameters in addition to the total duration of the test by the stopwatch.
Results: The total duration of the test obtained by the IMU and the stopwatch was in excellent agreement (Pearson's correlation coefficient: 0.99), while the total duration obtained by the IMU was systematically 0.52 s longer than the stopwatch. In multivariable analyses that adjusted for potential confounders, fallers had slower vertical velocity, reduced vertical acceleration, lower vertical power, and lower vertical jerk than nonfallers. In contrast, the total duration of the test measured by either the IMU or the stopwatch did not differ between the 2 groups.
Conclusions: An instrumented 5xSTS test provides additional information that better discriminates among older adults those at risk of multiple or serious falls than the conventional stopwatch-based assessment.
Keywords: Five-time sit-to-stand; Inertial sensor; Older adults; Risk of falls; Wearables.
© 2021 S. Karger AG, Basel.