Balance impairment is recognized as an important issue for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The aim of this study was to examine the effect of balance training as part of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) on balance in COPD patients.
Patients were randomly assigned to an intervention or usual care group. The intervention group underwent balance training 3 times a week for 6 months in addition to the standard PR. The control group received 6 months of the standard PR program only. Balance was assessed by the Timed Up and Go (TUG), Tinetti, Berg Balance Scale (BBS), and the Unipodal Stance (UST) tests. Balance confidence was rated using the ABC scale. Exercise tolerance was determined using a 6-Minute Walk Test.
Following the completion of PR, the intervention group showed improvement in all balance measures. Only TUG, ABC, and UST scores were improved in the usual care group (P < .05). Results demonstrated significant between-group differences in TUG, Tinetti, BBS, and ABC scores (P < .01) and UST score (P < .05).
Balance training incorporated into a standard PR program significantly improves scores on balance tests in COPD patients.