A Prospective Evaluation of an Outpatient Assessment of Postural Instability to Predict Risk of Falls in Patients with Parkinson's Disease Presenting for Deep Brain Stimulation

Nicholas J. Brandmeir, Cheryl L. Brandmeir, Kristine Kuzma, James Mcinerney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Background: Postural instability (PI) and falls, major causes of morbidity in patients with PD, are often overlooked. DBS is a mainstay therapy for Parkinson's disease (PD) and has been purported to both worsen and improve PI. An effective PI evaluation that can predict fall risk in patients with PD presenting for DBS is needed. Methods: Forty-nine consecutive patients with PD were enrolled. Self-reported falls were the gold standard. Tests evaluated were the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Timed-Up-and-Go (TUG), Pull Test, and Biodex Balance System Sway Index on firm (SI-FIRM) and soft (SI-SOFT) surfaces. Results: The best single tests for fall risk were the BBS and SI-FIRM, each with sensitivities of 79% and specificities of 60% and 65%, respectively. When the evaluation was combined into a composite measure requiring four positive tests out of five, the sensitivity was 72% and specificity was 80%. Conclusions: A simple, efficient outpatient physical therapy assessment is effective in diagnosing fall risk in patients with PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-155
Number of pages5
JournalMovement Disorders Clinical Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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