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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2019 Jan;67(1):119-123. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15639. Epub 2018 Oct 16.

Likelihood of Sustaining an Injury in the Setting of Multiple Falls.

Author information

1
Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To evaluate the relationship between number of falls and risk of injury after a specific fall.

DESIGN:

Prospective cohort study.

SETTING:

Greater New Haven, Connecticut.

PARTICIPANTS:

Probability sample of 1,103 community-living persons aged 72 and older.

MEASUREMENTS:

Falls and fall-related injuries were ascertained monthly for 3 years using a fall calendar and follow-up telephone interviews.

RESULTS:

Of 606 participants with a fall, 164 (27.0%) had at least 1 fall with a serious injury, and 455 (75.1%) had at least 1 fall with any injury; mean number of falls was 2.6±2.3 (range 1-18), of falls with serious injury was 0.3±0.6 (range 0-4), and of falls with any injury was 1.4±1.4 (range 0-9). On a per-participant basis, risk of serious injury and any injury increased progressively as the number of falls increased (P < .001). On a per-fall basis, risk of serious injury and any injury increased from 1 to 2 falls but then decreased from 2 to 3 or 4 falls and from 3 or 4 to 5 or more falls, although these differences were not statistically significant. The results were consistent for women and men and for analyses that evaluated the proportion of falls with injuries.

CONCLUSION:

In community-living older persons, risk of injury from a specific fall did not differ as the number of falls increased. Falls appear to operate independently in terms of conferring risk of injury in the setting of multiple falls. J Am Geriatr Soc 67:119-123, 2019.

KEYWORDS:

falls; injuries; longitudinal study; older persons

PMID:
30325022
PMCID:
PMC6583909
[Available on 2020-01-01]
DOI:
10.1111/jgs.15639

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