Recurrent Falls in Parkinson's Disease: A Systematic Review

Clinical and Rehabilitation Sciences Research Group, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, P.O. Box 170, Lidcombe, NSW 1825, Australia.
Parkinson's disease 03/2013; 2013:906274. DOI: 10.1155/2013/906274
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Most people with Parkinson's disease (PD) fall and many experience recurrent falls. The aim of this review was to examine the scope of recurrent falls and to identify factors associated with recurrent fallers. A database search for journal articles which reported prospectively collected information concerning recurrent falls in people with PD identified 22 studies. In these studies, 60.5% (range 35 to 90%) of participants reported at least one fall, with 39% (range 18 to 65%) reporting recurrent falls. Recurrent fallers reported an average of 4.7 to 67.6 falls per person per year (overall average 20.8 falls). Factors associated with recurrent falls include: a positive fall history, increased disease severity and duration, increased motor impairment, treatment with dopamine agonists, increased levodopa dosage, cognitive impairment, fear of falling, freezing of gait, impaired mobility and reduced physical activity. The wide range in the frequency of recurrent falls experienced by people with PD suggests that it would be beneficial to classify recurrent fallers into sub-groups based on fall frequency. Given that there are several factors particularly associated with recurrent falls, fall management and prevention strategies specifically targeting recurrent fallers require urgent evaluation in order to inform clinical practice.

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    ABSTRACT: To determine factors associated with future falls and/or near falls in people with mild PD. The study included 141 participants with PD. Mean (SD) age and PD-duration were 68 (9.7) and 4 years (3.9), respectively. Their median (q1-q3) UPDRS III score was 13 (8-18). Those >80 years of age, requiring support in standing or unable to understand instructions were excluded. Self-administered questionnaires targeted freezing of gait, turning hesitations, walking difficulties in daily life, fatigue, fear of falling, independence in activities of daily living, dyskinesia, demographics, falls/near falls history, balance problems while dual tasking and pain. Clinical assessments addressed functional balance performance, retropulsion, comfortable gait speed, motor symptoms and cognition. All falls and near falls were subsequently registered in a diary during a six-month period. Risk factors for prospective falls and/or near falls were determined using logistic regression. Sixty-three participants (45%) experienced ≥1 fall and/or near fall. Three factors were independent predictors of falls and/or near falls: fear of falling (OR = 1.032, p<0.001) history of near falls (OR = 3.475, p = 0.009) and retropulsion (OR = 2.813, p = 0.035). The strongest contributing factor was fear of falling, followed by a history of near falls and retropulsion. Fear of falling seems to be an important issue to address already in mild PD as well as asking about prior near falls.
    PLoS ONE 10(1):e0117018. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0117018 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) suffer from a high fall risk. Previous approaches for evaluating fall risk are based on self-report or testing at a given time point and may, therefore, be insufficient to optimally capture fall risk. We tested, for the first time, whether metrics derived from 3 day continuous recordings are associated with fall risk in PD. 107 patients (Hoehn & Yahr Stage: 2.6±0.7) wore a small, body-fixed sensor (3D accelerometer) on lower back for 3 days. Walking quantity (e.g., steps per 3-days) and quality (e.g., frequency-derived measures of gait variability) were determined. Subjects were classified as fallers or non-fallers based on fall history. Subjects were also followed for one year to evaluate predictors of the transition from non-faller to faller. The 3 day acceleration derived measures were significantly different in fallers and non-fallers and were significantly correlated with previously validated measures of fall risk. Walking quantity was similar in the two groups. In contrast, the fallers walked with higher step-to-step variability, e.g., anterior-posterior width of the dominant frequency was larger (p = 0.012) in the fallers (0.78±0.17 Hz) compared to the non-fallers (0.71±0.07 Hz). Among subjects who reported no falls in the year prior to testing, sensor-derived measures predicted the time to first fall (p = 0.0034), whereas many traditional measures did not. Cox regression analysis showed that anterior-posterior width was significantly (p = 0.0039) associated with time to fall during the follow-up period, even after adjusting for traditional measures. These findings indicate that a body-fixed sensor worn continuously can evaluate fall risk in PD. This sensor-based approach was able to identify transition from non-faller to faller, whereas many traditional metrics were not successful. This approach may facilitate earlier detection of fall risk and may in the future, help reduce high costs associated with falls.
    PLoS ONE 05/2014; 9(5):e96675. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0096675 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Proprioceptive deficits negatively affect postural control but their precise contribution to postural instability in Parkinson's disease (PD) is unclear. We investigated if proprioceptive manipulations differentially affect balance, measured by force plates, during quiet standing in 13 PD patients and 13 age-matched controls with a history of falls. Perceived limits of stability (LoS) were derived from the differences between maximal center of pressure (CoP) displacement in anterior-posterior (AP) and medio-lateral (ML) direction during a maximal leaning task. Task conditions comprised standing with eyes open (EO) and eyes closed (EC): (1) on a stable surface; (2) an unstable surface; and (3) with Achilles tendon vibration. CoP displacements were calculated as a percentage of their respective LoS. Perceived LoS did not differ between groups. PD patients showed greater ML CoP displacement than elderly fallers (EF) across all conditions (p = 0.043) and tended to have higher postural sway in relation to the LoS (p = 0.050). Both groups performed worse on an unstable surface and during tendon vibration compared to standing on a stable surface with EO and even more so with EC. Both PD and EF had more AP sway in all conditions with EC compared to EO (p < 0.001) and showed increased CoP displacements when relying on proprioception only compared to standing with normal sensory input. This implies a similar role of the proprioceptive system in postural control in fallers with and without PD. PD fallers showed higher ML sway after sensory manipulations, as a result of which these values approached their perceived LoS more closely than in EF. We conclude that despite a similar fall history, PD patients showed more ML instability than EF, irrespective of sensory manipulation, but had a similar reliance on ankle proprioception. Hence, we recommend that rehabilitation and fall prevention for PD should focus on motor rather than on sensory aspects.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 11/2014; 8:939. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00939 · 2.90 Impact Factor

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