Static Balance and Chair-Rise Performance in Neurogeriatric Patients: Promising Short Physical Performance Battery-Derived Predictors of Fear of Falling

Background

Fear of falling (FOF) negatively affects health-related quality of life and is common in neurogeriatric patients, however, related parameters are not well understood. This study investigated the relationship between FOF, physical performance (as assessed with the Short Physical Performance Battery and its subscores) and other aspects of sarcopenia in a sample of hospitalized neurogeriatric patients.

Methods

In 124 neurogeriatric patients, FOF was assessed with the Falls Efficacy Scale International (FES-I). Physical performance was measured using the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) including walking duration, balance and five times sit-to-stand task (5xSST) subscores. Appendicular skeletal muscle mass (ASMM) was estimated with the cross-validated Sergi equation using Bioelectrical impedance analysis measures. The Depression im Alter-Skala (DIA-S) was used to assess depressive symptoms. Multiple regression models with FES-I score as outcome variable were computed using backward selection with AICc as selection criterion, including: (i) SPPB total score, ASMM/height2, grip strength, age, [...]

Results

Lower SPPB total score, as well as lower SPPB balance and 5xSST subscores were associated with higher FES-I scores, but SPPB walking duration subscore was not. Moreover, DIA-S, number of medications and use of a walking aid were significantly associated with FOF.

Conclusion

Our preliminary results suggest that -if confirmed by subsequent studies- it may be worthwhile to screen patients with low SPPB balance and 5xSST subscores for FOF, and to treat especially these mobility deficits in neurogeriatric patients with FOF. Moreover, training neurogeriatric patients to use their walking aids correctly, critical evaluation of medication and treating depressive symptoms may further help reduce FOF in this highly vulnerable cohort.

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