Kerschan-Schindl K, Uher E, Grampp S, Kaider A, Ghanem A-H, Fialka-Moser V, Preisinger E: A neuromuscular test battery for osteoporotic women: a pilot study. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2001;80:351–357.
To examine the efficacy of a short neuromuscular test battery in elderly women suffering from osteoporosis in accordance with the World Health Organization criteria, with and without a history of fractures.
Reduced bone mass and a high likelihood of falling increase the risk of osteoporotic fractures. There is a need for neuromuscular tests to identify individuals at risk for falls and fractures.
The women were assessed twice. Forty-two women, with a mean age of 70.0 ± 5.1 (SD) yr, completed the first assessment. The number of postmenopausal fractures and the women’s history with regard to agility and falls were assessed. The women performed neuromuscular tests (one-leg stance, tandem walk, and body sway); bone mineral density of the spine and femoral neck were measured. For the follow-up assessment, 13.2 ± 1.3 mo later, 39 women were studied. The same outcome measurements were obtained at both evaluations.
During the observation period, five women fell once and one woman fell twice; there were only two vertebral fractures and no nonvertebral fracture. Neuromuscular performance did not change during this observation period. The median changes in bone mineral density between the two assessments were clinically not relevant. A comparison between patients suffering from established osteoporosis and osteoporotic patients without a history of postmenopausal fractures showed that both groups of patients did not differ with respect to age, neuromuscular performance, bone mineral density, and fear of falling.
This neuromuscular test battery is a feasible and practical tool because it is brief and economical to perform. However, its efficacy as a predictor of fractures must be tested in additional studies with a long-term follow-up and a larger group of subjects.
From the Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (KK-S, EU, A-HG, VF-M, EP), Radiology (SG), and Medical Computer Sciences (AK), University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Katharina Kerschan-Schindl, MD, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, Austria.