Nevin Manimala Statistics

Age Is Not Just a Number: The Intersection of Age, Orthopedic Injuries, and Worsening Outcomes Following Low-Energy Falls

J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2023 Sep 13. doi: 10.1519/JPT.0000000000000395. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study is to stratify the age at which older adults are most likely to sustain injuries and major complications resulting from low-energy falls so that fall prevention strategies may be targeted to more susceptible age groups.

METHODS: A consecutive series of 12 709 patients older than 55 years enrolled in an orthopedic trauma registry from October 2014 to April 2021 were reviewed for demographic factors, hospital quality measures, and outcomes. Patients were grouped by age brackets in 5-year intervals. Comparative analyses were conducted across age groups with an additional post hoc analysis comparing the 75- to 79-year-old cohort with others. All statistical analyses were conducted utilizing a Bonferroni-adjusted alpha.

RESULTS: Of the 12 709 patients, 9924 patients (78%) sustained a low-energy fall. The mean age of the cohort was 75.3 (range: 55-106) years and the median number of complications per person was 1.0 (range: 0-7). The proportion of females increased across each age group. The mean Charlson Comorbidity Index increased across each age group, except in the cohort of 90+ years of age. There was a varied distribution of fractures among age groups with the incidence of hip fractures most prominently increasing with age. Complication rates varied significantly between all age groups. Between the ages of 70 to 74 years and 80 to 84 years, there was a 2-fold increase in complication rate, and between the ages of 70 to 74 years and 75 to 79 years, there was a near 2×/1.5×/1.4× increase in inpatient, 30-day, and 1-year mortality rate, respectively. When controlling for confounding demographic variables between age groups, the rates of complications and mortality still differed.

CONCLUSIONS: Fall prevention interventions, while applicable to all older adult patients, could improve outcomes by offering additional resources particularly for individuals between 70 and 80 years of age. These additional resources can help minimize excessive hospitalizations, prolonged lengths of stay, and the detrimental complications that frequently coincide with falls. Although hip fractures are the most common fracture as patients get older, other fractures still occur with frequency, and fall prevention strategies should account for prevention of these injuries as well.

PMID:37703046 | DOI:10.1519/JPT.0000000000000395

By Nevin Manimala

Portfolio Website for Nevin Manimala