Annales de Gérontologie


Risk factors for falls in geriatric inpatients: interaction between increased stride time variability and history of falls Volume 2, numéro 1, janvier 2009

Department of Geriatrics, Angers University Hospitals, France, Department of Rehabilitation and Geriatrics, Geneva University Hospitals, Switzerland, Geriatric University Clinic, University of Basel, Switzerland

Gait instability and a history of falls emerged constantly as significant risk factors for falls at hospital. Interaction between risk factors for falls may lead to an increase risk of falling. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of an association of an increased stride-to-stride variability (STV) of stride time and a history of falls for the occurrence of a first fall in geriatric inpatients. Coefficient of variation of stride time was measured in 57 geriatric inpatients (mean age 85.0 ± 6.5; 77.2% women) using GAITRite ®-System. Information on incident falls during the hospital stay was recorded through the hospital accident reporting system. Of the 57 participants, 10 (17.5%) fell during the follow up (mean follow up 29.6 ± 25.9 days). Subjects who had an increased STV of stride time and who were admitted to hospital for fall had a higher occurrence of first fall during the hospital stay (OR = 49; p = 0.002) compared with those who had a low STV of stride time (OR = 2.6; p = 0.447) or those who were not admitted for fall (OR = 4.2; p = 0.338). Increased STV of stride time and a history of falls interact that leads to increased risk of falling among geriatric inpatients. Further research is needed to confirm our results, in order to develop a useful and practical fall risk assessment tool for clinicians.