Impaired balance and higher prevalence of falls in subjects with intermittent claudication

A. W. Gardner, P. S. Montgomery

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79 Scopus citations


Background. The purpose of this study was to determine whether peripheral arterial disease (PAD) subjects have impaired balance and a higher prevalence of falls than non-PAD controls and to determine whether balance and falls are related to the severity of PAD and functional status. Methods. A total of 367 PAD subjects (aged 68 ± 1 years; mean ± SEM) and 458 non-PAD controls (aged 67 ± 1 years) were recruited. Unipedal stance time, history of ambulatory stumbling and unsteadiness, and history of falling were recorded. Additionally, subjects were characterized on age, ankle/brachial index (ABI), anthropometry, measured and self-reported ambulatory function, and monitored daily physical activity. Results. Unipedal stance time was 28% shorter (p < .001) in the PAD subjects than in the non-PAD controls (15.9 ± 0.9 vs 22.1 ± 1.0). History of ambulatory stumbling and unsteadiness was 86% more prevalent (p < .001) in the PAD group (150/367 = 41%) than in the controls (101/458 = 22%), and history of falling was 73% more prevalent (p < .001) in the PAD subjects (95/367 = 26%) than in the controls (69/458 = 15%). Within the PAD group, 6-minute walk distance, self-reported ambulatory function, and daily physical activity were significantly related to the balance and falling measures (p < .05), whereas ABI was unrelated (p > .05). Conclusions. Compared with the controls, PAD subjects with intermittent claudication had impaired balance and a greater likelihood of falling, both of which were associated with ambulatory function and daily physical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)M454-M458
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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