Risk Factors for Postural and Functional Balance Impairment in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
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Reduced balance function has been observed during balance challenging conditions in the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) population and is associated with an increased risk of falls. This study aimed to examine postural balance during quiet standing with eyes open and functional balance in a heterogeneous group of COPD and non-COPD (control) subjects, and to identify risk factors underlying balance impairment using a large panel of methods. In COPD and control subjects, who were mostly overweight and sedentary, postural and functional balance were assessed using center-of-pressure displacement in anterior-posterior (AP) and medio-lateral (ML) directions, and the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), respectively. COPD showed 23% greater AP sway velocity (p = 0.049). The presence of oxygen therapy, fat mass, reduced neurocognitive function, and the presence of (pre)diabetes explained 71% of the variation in postural balance in COPD. Transcutaneous oxygen saturation, a history of exacerbation, and gait speed explained 83% of the variation in functional balance in COPD. Neurocognitive dysfunction was the main risk factor for postural balance impairment in the control group. This suggests that specific phenotypes of COPD patients can be identified based on their type of balance impairment.