Injuries sustained by falls

Department of Surgery, University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville 37920.
Archives of emergency medicine 01/1992; 8(4):245-52. DOI: 10.1136/emj.8.4.245
Source: PubMed


During a recent 4-year period, 381 patients were admitted with injuries sustained from falls. Equal numbers of patients were less than and greater than 50 years of age and included 53 children (less than or equal to 16 years) and 214 elderly (greater than or equal to 55 years). Falls from heights occurred predominantly in young males (mean age 34.2 years), were most commonly job or recreation related and resulted in higher injury severity scores (ISS). Falls in the elderly occurred more commonly in women, typically on a flat surface, and were less severe. Despite lower mean ISS, fall victims over 55 years of age had longer hospitalizations (11.4 vs. 4.5 days) and incurred higher hospital charges compared to younger patients. There were 35 deaths (9.2%). In patients under 55 years, deaths resulted from fall-related central nervous system (CNS) injury and/or multisystem trauma. In patients over 55 years, fatalities were most commonly related to pre-existent medical conditions. Based on a review of this experience, we conclude that: (1) unlike other causes of blunt and penetrating trauma, both sexes are equally at risk from fall-related injuries but sex incidence is age related; (2) falls from heights are more common in men; (3) advanced age and pre-existing medical conditions account for the increased morbidity and mortality following falls and; (4) cost containment measures for fall-related trauma must consider not only injury severity, but the age and pre-existent medical conditions of the patient.

Full-text preview

Available from:
  • Source
    • "All rights reserved. associated with increased injury severity, morbidity, and mortality [6] [7]. In a retrospective study that examined ladder and structural falls, Diggs found that in those patients >75 y, mortality could be as high as 3.3% [8]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Falls from ladders account for a significant number of hospital visits. However, the epidemiology, injury pattern, and how age affects such falls are poorly described in the literature. Materials and methods: Patients ≥18 y who suffered falls from ladders over a 5½-y period were identified in our trauma registry. Dividing patients into three age groups (18-45, 46-65, and >66 y), we compared demographic characteristics, clinical data, and outcomes including injury pattern and mortality. The odds ratios (ORs) were calculated with the group 18-45 y as reference; group means were compared with one-way analysis of variance. Results: Of 27,155 trauma patients, 340 (1.3%) had suffered falls from ladders. The average age was 55 y, with a male predominance of 89.3%. Average fall height was 9.8 ft, and mean Injury Severity Score was 10.6. Increasing age was associated with a decrease in the mean fall height (P < 0.001), an increase in the mean Injury Severity Score (P < 0.05), and higher likelihood of admission (>66 y: OR, 5.3; confidence interval [CI], 2.5-11.5). In univariate analysis, patients in the >66-y age group were more likely to sustain traumatic brain injuries (OR, 3.4; CI, 1.5-7.8) and truncal injuries (OR, 3.6; CI, 1.9-7.0) and less likely to sustain hand and/or forearm fractures (OR, 0.3; CI, 0.1-0.9). Conclusions: Older people are particularly vulnerable after falling from ladders. Although they fell from lower heights, the elderly sustained different and more severe injury patterns. Ladder safety education should be particularly tailored at the elderly.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Journal of Surgical Research
  • Source
    • "All these reasons make it worthwhile to prevent old people from falling and keep them out of the hospital so long as possible. Women fall more often than men (Grisso et al. 1990, Rozycki and Maull 1991) and sustain injuries more often when they fall (O'Neill et al. 1994). In our study, two thirds were women and the same percentage of women was seen in another Swedish study of fall injuries (Johansson 1998). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We investigated, by studying medical records, background factors and consequences of accidental falls of patients 65-74 years who attended the Department of Orthopedics' emergency clinic in Lund. We also assessed possible prevention measures. Fractures occurred in three quarters of the registered falls. Women were more prone to sustain fractures than men. Forearm fractures were commonest among women while hip fractures were commonest among men. One third of the patients were admitted to an orthopedic ward because of the fall. The patients who were less healthy had sustained fractures oftener and also needed more hospital care. Information regarding risk factors for falls and fractures were often missing in the patients' medical records. Impaired walking and balance, and medication increased the risk of falls. Such patients constitute a high risk group for future falls and fractures. A newly developed instrument is suggested as a routine in the emergency department to increase the awareness of risk factors for falls in the elderly. Satisfactory documentation is a prerequisite for further treatment and referrals to prevent falls and fractures.
    Full-text · Article · May 2000 · Acta Orthopaedica Scandinavica
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the differences between the outcome of elderly patients with severe injuries and that of their contemporaries with a less severe injury, we reviewed 42 severely injured elderly patients and compared them with 76 patients with a femoral neck fracture. We analysed the influence of injury severity and host factors (age, sex and pre-injury medical status) on outcome. The in-hospital mortality rate was 31 per cent in the severely injured patients and 3 per cent in those with a femoral neck fracture. Home was the main discharge destination in the severely injured elderly (34 per cent) and a nursing home in patients with a femoral neck fracture (65 per cent). Functional outcome 1 year after injury was better in the severely injured elderly group. Long-term survival was mainly determined by host factors and not by injury severity. Physicians and policy makers should be careful in predicting the outcome of elderly injured patients merely on the basis of injury severity, because host factors are of greater importance.
    Preview · Article · Nov 1997 · Injury
Show more