The modified romberg balance test: Normative data in U.S. adults

Yuri Agrawa, John P. Carey, Howard J. Hoffman, Daniel A. Sklare, Michael C. Schubert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To generate normative values for performance on the modified Romberg Test of Standing Balance on Firm and Compliant Support Surfaces stratified by age, sex, and race/ethnicity and to determine fall risk associated with different levels of performance. STUDY DESIGN: National cross-sectional survey. SETTING: Ambulatory examination centers. PATIENTS: U.S. adults 40 years and older who participated in the 2001-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (n = 5,086). INTERVENTIONS: Time to failure on the modified Romberg Test of Standing Balance on Firm and Compliant Support Surfaces. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: History of falling in the previous 12 months. RESULTS: We observed that the time to failure decreased with increasing age across all sex and race/ethnicity categories. We found that once individuals went below a time to failure of 20 seconds, there was a significant greater than 3-fold increase in the odds of falling. In general, participants crossed the 20-second threshold at the age of 60 to 69 years. CONCLUSION: We established nationally representative normative values for performance on the modified Romberg test and noted differences in the rates of change across demographic groups. In addition, we demonstrated the fall risk associated with different levels of performance. These data will aid the clinician in interpreting and risk stratifying their patient's performance on this postural test.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1309-1311
Number of pages3
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Volume32
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2011

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Balance
  • Falls
  • Race
  • Romberg
  • Sex
  • Vestibular dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Clinical Neurology

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