Balance and walking speed predict subsequent 8-year mortality independently of current and intermediate events in well-functioning women aged 75 years and older
Physical performance may predict survival independently of other current predictors in non selected elderly subjects. We determined if poor balance and decreased gait speed may predict mortality after adjustment for both baseline and follow-up confounders in well-functioning elderly women.
A subgroup of participants in the Epidemiology of osteoporosis (EPIDOS) study (N = 1,300) was followed for 8 years. Participants were community-dwelling women aged 75 or older able to go outside home without assistance. The baseline examination included a questionnaire and a clinical and functional examination. Participants were contacted every year thereafter by mail.
Poor balance, defined by the inability to stand in a tandem position or to complete ten foot taps in less than 4.6 seconds, and poor mobility, defined by a gait speed of less than 0.80 m/s or a stride length of less than 0.5 m were significant predictors of low 8-year survival, independently of other predictors of death at baseline (educational level, social network, number of drugs, fear of falling, visual acuity, perceived health, IADL score, physical activity, and comorbidities) and during follow-up (falls, IADL score, the need to be accompanied to go outside, weight loss, hospitalization, and the report of new comorbidities).
The current study shows that poor balance and mobility are significant predictors of 8-year mortality independently of baseline and intermediate events in pre-disabled women aged 75 years and older, suggesting that they may reflect a certain failure to respond adequately in the face of present and future medical and non-medical events.
Key wordsLongitudinal studies cox models frailty elderly
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