Diagnostic Balance Tests for Assessing Risk of Falls and Distinguishing Older Adult Fallers and Non-Fallers: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis

Kozinc Ž, Löfler S, Hofer C, Carraro U, Šarabon N
Informationen der Publikation (z.B. Journal, Seitenzahl, Verlag, etc.)
Diagnostics (Basel). 10(9):E667.

Falls are a major cause of injury and morbidity in older adults. To reduce the incidence of falls, a systematic assessment of the risk of falling is of paramount importance. The purpose of this systematic review was to provide a comprehensive comparison of the diagnostic balance tests used to predict falls and for distinguishing older adults with and without a history of falls. We conducted a systematic review of the studies in which instrumented (force plate body sway assessment) or other non-instrumented balance tests were used. We analyzed the data from 19 prospective and 48 retrospective/case-control studies. Among the non-instrumented tests, the single-leg stance test appears to be the most promising for discrimination between fallers and non-fallers. In terms of body sway measures, the center-of-pressure area was most consistently associated with falls. No evidence was found for increased benefit of the body sway test when cognitive tasks were added, or the vision was eliminated. While our analyses are limited due to the unbalanced representation of different test and outcome measures across studies, we can recommend the single-leg test for the assessment of the risk of falling, and the measurements of body sway for a more comprehensive assessment.