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Risk Factors for Recurrent Nonsyncopal Falls:  A Prospective Study

Michael C. Nevitt, PhD; Steven R. Cummings, MD; Sharon Kidd; Dennis Black, PhD
JAMA. 1989;261(18):2663-2668. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420180087036.
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Falls are a major threat to the health of older persons. We evaluated potential risk factors for falls in 325 community-dwelling persons aged 60 years or older who had fallen during the previous year, then followed up weekly for 1 year to ascertain nonsyncopal falls and their consequences. Risk factors for having a single fall were few and relatively weak, but multiple falls were more predictable. In multivariate analyses, we found increased odds of two or more falls for persons who had difficulty standing up from a chair, difficulty performing a tandem walk, arthritis, Parkinson's disease, three or more falls during the previous year, and a fall with injury during the previous year, and for whites. The proportion of subjects with two or more falls per year increased from 0.10 for those with none or one of these risk factors to 0.69 for those with four or more risk factors. Among older persons with a history of a recent fall, the risk of multiple nonsyncopal falls can be predicted from a few simple questions and examinations.

(JAMA. 1989;261:2663-2668)

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