Usefulness of the Berg Balance Scale in Stroke Rehabilitation: A Systematic Review

The purposes of this study were to conduct a systematic review of the psychometric properties of the BBS specific to stroke and to identify strengths and weaknesses in its usefulness for stroke rehabilitation.  Twenty-one studies examining the psychometric properties of the BBS with a stroke population were retrieved. Internal consistency was excellent as was interrater reliability, intrarater reliability and test-retest reliability. Sixteen studies focused on validity and generally found excellent correlations with the Barthel Index, the Postural Assessment Scale for Stroke Patients, Functional Reach Test, the balance subscale of Fugl-Meyer Assessment, the Functional Independence Measure, the Rivermead Mobility Index, and gait speed. Berg Balance Scale scores predicted length of stay, discharge destination, motor ability at 180 days poststroke, and disability level at 90 days, but these scores were not predictive of falls.

The BBS is a psychometrically sound measure of balance impairment for use in poststroke assessment. Given the floor and ceiling effects, clinicians may want to use the BBS in conjunction with other balance measures.

Physical Therapy, 21 Feb 2008, online article ahead of press

Link to Abstract