Minerva

The sit to stand test and other stories . . .

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f7708 (Published 08 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:f7708

Many doctors spend their late puberty and early adulthood competing to be clever in laboratories. Later in life, the bigger the laboratory, the cleverer the doctor is deemed to be. But in a medical literature cluttered with arcane and complex laboratory measurements, Minerva reserves her highest praise for simple things that relate to real outcomes. It seems that the best way to predict mortality in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is by the use of a chair and a watch (European Respiratory Journal 2013;42:956-63, doi:10.1183/09031936.00131612). Patients were asked to sit and stand as many times as they could manage within a minute. In Dutch and Swiss primary care, the sit to stand test alone was a stronger predictor of two year mortality (area under curve 0.78) than body mass index (0.52), forced expiratory volume in one second (0.61), dyspnoea (0.63), and handgrip strength (0.62).

The other way in which aspiring doctors are traditionally taught …

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