How is postural instability assessed in patients with Parkinson disease (PD)?

Updated: Aug 29, 2019
  • Author: Robert A Hauser, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Postural instability refers to imbalance and loss of righting reflexes. Its emergence in a patient with Parkinson disease is an important milestone, because it is poorly amenable to treatment and a common source of disability in late disease. Postural stability is typically assessed by having patients stand with their eyes open and then pulling their shoulders back toward the examiner. Patients are told to be ready for the displacement and to regain their balance as quickly as possible. Taking 1 or 2 steps backward to regain balance is considered normal. The examiner should be ready to catch patients if they are unable to regain balance.

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