The Balance Evaluation Systems Test (BESTest) is a new clinical balance assessment tool, but it has not been validated in patients with subacute stroke. The objective of this study was to examine the reliability and validity of the BESTest in patients with subacute stroke. Twelve patients took part in the interrater and intrarater reliability study. Convergent validity was examined in 70 patients using the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Postural Assessment Scale for Stroke (PASS), Community Balance and Mobility Scale (CB&M), and Mini-BESTest. The receiver operating characteristic curve was used to calculate the sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of the BESTest, Mini-BESTest, and BBS in classifying participants into low functional ability (LFA) and high functional ability (HFA) groups based on Fugl-Meyer Assessment motor subscale scores. The BESTest exhibited exceptionally high intrarater reliability and interrater reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient=.99) and was highly correlated with the BBS (Spearman r=.96), PASS (r=.96), CB&M (r=.91), and Mini-BESTest (r=.96), indicating excellent convergent validity. No floor or ceiling effects were seen with the BESTest. In contrast, the Mini-BESTest and CB&M had a floor effect in the LFA group, and the BBS and PASS demonstrated responsive ceiling effects in the HFA group. In addition, the BESTest showed high accuracy as the BBS and Mini-BESTest in separating participants into HFA and LFA groups. Whether the results are generalizable to patients with chronic stroke is not known.
The BESTest is reliable, valid, sensitive, and specific in assessing balance in individuals with subacute stroke across all levels of functional disability.