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Cristina Jácome, Joana Cruz, Raquel Gabriel, Daniela Figueiredo and Alda Marques

This study assessed functional balance among older adults at all grades of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and explored balance impairment predictors. A cross-sectional study with outpatients with COPD (N = 160; M = 72.2 years, SD = 7.9; mean forced expiratory volume in 1 s = 63.8% predicted, SD = 23.7) was conducted. The Timed Up and Go (TUG) test was used to assess functional balance. Functional balance impairment was defined as a TUG score exceeding the upper limit of the confidence intervals of normative values for healthy older adults. Participants performed the TUG test in 11.0 s (SD = 4.8 s). Functional balance impairment was present in 44.4% of the participants and was significantly more frequent in severe to very severe COPD (62.5%). Body mass index (odds ratio [OR] = 1.12), number of medications (OR = 1.20), restriction in recreational activities (OR = 1.66), and depression score (OR = 1.14) were multivariate predictors of functional balance impairment. Functional balance impairment is present in early COPD, although more evident at advanced grades. These findings highlight the importance of balance assessment in older patients at all COPD grades.