Background and Purpose: Balance deficits in people with Parkinson’s disease can affect any of the multiple systems encompassing balance control. Thus, identification of the specific deficit is crucial in customizing balance rehabilitation. The sensory organization test, a test of sensory integration for balance control, is sometimes used in isolation to identify balance deficits in people with Parkinson’s disease. More recently, the Mini-Balance Evaluations Systems Test, a clinical scale that tests multiple domains of balance control, has begun to be used to assess balance in patients with Parkinson’s disease. The purpose of our study was to compare the use of Sensory Organization Test and Mini-Balance Evaluations Systems Test in identifying balance deficits in people with Parkinson’s disease.
Methods: 45 participants (27M, 18F; 65.2 ± 8.2 years) with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease participated in the cross-sectional study. Balance assessment was performed using the Sensory Organization Test and the Mini- Balance Evaluations Systems Test. People were classified into normal and abnormal balance based on the established cutoff scores (normal balance: Sensory Organization Test >69; Mini-Balance Evaluations Systems Test >73).
Results: More subjects were classified as having abnormal balance with the Mini-Balance Evaluations Systems Test (71% abnormal) than with the Sensory Organization Test (24% abnormal) in our cohort of people with Parkinson’s disease. There were no subjects with a normal Mini-Balance Evaluations Systems Test score but abnormal Sensory Organization Test score. In contrast, there were 21 subjects who had an abnormal Mini-Balance Evaluations Systems Test score but normal Sensory Organization Test scores.
Discussion and Conclusions: Findings from this study suggest that investigation of sensory integration deficits, alone, may not be able to identify all types of balance deficits found in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Thus, a comprehensive approach should be used to test of multiple balance systems to provide customized rehabilitation.