To determine whether a 1-month physical therapy (PT) program that includes a balance component improves balance impairments and fear of falling in individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and to evaluate the utility of the Four Square Step Test (FSST) and Functional Reach Test (FRT) in this population.
A retrospective analysis of participants with COPD in a PT program between May 2015 and December 2015. Assessments performed before and after therapy were the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), FRT, FSST, and Activities Balance Confidence Scale (ABC) questionnaire. Statistical analysis used Pearson product–moment coefficient of correlation, 1-tailed T test, and Independent T test.
Twenty-five individuals with COPD completed the PT program. Individuals at high risk of falls experienced significant improvements on the BBS (6.6 points, P = .0097), FSST (6.75 seconds, P = .001), and FRT (5.63 cm, P = .01333). The BBS and FSST were correlated with each other (r = 0.70) at baseline. Improvements in the ABC were not statistically significant (P = .071). Use of supplemental oxygen was not correlated with any assessment tool.
People with greater balance deficits had significant improvements in balance after a 1-month PT program. The FSST should be investigated further in patients with COPD.
Duke University Health System, Durham, NC
Correspondence: Tiffany Champion, PT, DPT, Duke University Health System, 1821 Hillandale Rd, Suite 25B Durham, NC 27705 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Duke University Health System, Durham, NC
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
This study was approved by The Duke University Institutional Review Board #Pro00068434.