ABSTRACT: Nonaccidental falls are often the result of a combination of factors including cardiovascular disorders such as orthostatic hypotension and unspecified cardiac arrhythmias. The objective of this study was to determine if there is an association between atrial fibrillation (AF) and nonaccidental falls.
We reviewed the records of 442 consecutive patients >65 years old who presented to the Emergency Department at the University of Utah Medical Center with a complaint of fall.
Two-hundred eleven patients presented with nonaccidental fall, 231 patients with accidental fall. Patients with nonaccidental fall were more likely to be older, have a history of hypertension and neurological disorders, and taking five or more medications when compared to patients with accidental fall. Despite a similar prevalence of sinus rhythm at presentation, the prevalence of a history of AF was significantly higher in patients with nonaccidental fall compared to patients with accidental fall (26% vs 15%; P = 0.003). After adjusting for clinically and statistically significant predictors with a multivariate logistic regression analysis, AF, neurological disorders, and age ≤81 years were independent predictors of nonaccidental fall. In patients ≤81 years old (median age), the risk of nonaccidental falls was 2.5 times greater in patients with a history of AF when compared to those without a history of AF (odds ratio = 2.53 [confidence interval 95% 1.3-5], P = 0.007).
AF is an independent risk factor for nonaccidental falls. Our results emphasize the need to screen for AF in patients presenting with nonaccidental fall.
Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology 06/2012; 35(8):973-9. · 1.35 Impact Factor