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  1. Porto, Elias F. PT, PhD
  2. Pradella, Cristiane O. PT, PhD
  3. Rocco, Carolina M. PT, PhD
  4. Chueiro, Mario Jr. PT, MSc
  5. Maia, Rafaella Q. PT, MSc
  6. Gananca, Fernando F. MD
  7. Castro, Antonio A. M. PT, PhD
  8. Nascimento, Oliver A. MD
  9. Jardim, Jose R. MD


PURPOSE: Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have body balance deficits, with consequent fall risk. It is possible that body sway in patients with COPD affects their ability to perform daily activities. The purpose of this study was to determine whether body balance is similar in patients with COPD and healthy persons when performing static and dynamic activities. In addition, we wanted to assess whether impairment of balance is related to the presence of falls in patients with COPD.


METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study, in which every spirometric classification in patients with COPD (mild, moderate, severe, and very severe degrees) and age-matched healthy subjects was assessed. Subjects who were current smokers and patients who underwent physical training in the last 6 months prior to the start of the study were excluded. Static balance was assessed by computerized posturography and dynamic body balance using the Berg Balance Scale.


RESULTS: Ninety-three patients with COPD and 39 healthy persons were evaluated. Mean age was 67.3 (10.8) and 65.1 (9.7) years and mean forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) was 50.4 (19.0) and 89.2 (23.6) for patients with COPD and healthy individuals, respectively. The impairment of body balance was higher for the group of patients with COPD (P = .0005). Patients with greater impairment in body balance had greater incidence of falls, and body balance was more affected with age in patients with COPD than in healthy persons.


CONCLUSION: Impairment of body balance is more frequent in patients with COPD than in healthy persons while performing dynamic activities, and a greater incidence of falls activities was also found for this group.