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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1992 Oct;40(10):1008-12.

The relationship between electromyographically documented peripheral neuropathy and falls.

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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor 48109-0042.



To determine if the presence of an electromyographically demonstrated peripheral polyneuropathy involving the lower extremities is associated with falls.


Case control study.


A University-based referral center.


Twenty-five patients with an axonal peripheral polyneuropathy affecting the lower extremities, demonstrated by electromyography more than 8 and less than 16 months before, and 25 age- and sex-matched controls who had normal electromyographic studies of the lower extremities during the same time period, were identified from a computer record of all electromyography results during the year prior to the study, using diagnostic codes and demographic data. Twenty-eight pairs were identified, 25 of whom completed the study.


Number of falls and resultant injuries during the year before the interview, and number of previously identified risk factors for falling, based on interview.


Peripheral neuropathy was found to be significantly associated with falling (14/25, 56% vs 2/25, 8%--odds ratio 23.0, 95% confidence interval 2.5, > 100) and repetitive falling (10/25, 40% vs 1/25, 4%--odds ratio, 95% confidence interval 1.4, > 100). There was a trend toward increased injury requiring medical attention (5/25, 20% vs 0/25, 0%), but it did not reach statistical significance. Previously identified risk factors were not significantly more common in the peripheral neuropathy group.


An electromyographically identified peripheral neuropathy is strongly associated with and may be a risk factor for falls.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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