We sought to ascertain frequency, type, risk factors of falling, and resulting injuries among parkinsonian patients. A survey was mailed to all patients treated at our center between 1/1/2000 and 4/30/2002 (N = 1,417). Information was collected on falls within the past 2 years, related injuries, and use of health care services. A total of 1,131 responses (response rate, 79.8%) were received. After the exclusion of nonparkinsonian disorders, statistics for the remaining group (n = 1,092) and predictive statistics for those diagnosed before 1/1/2000 (n = 1,013) were calculated. Outcomes included falls, fractures, injuries, surgery, and related use of health care services. Explanatory variables included sex, age, age at diagnosis, disease duration, atypical parkinsonism, and dementia. Most patients (55.9%) were men; 12.2% had atypical parkinsonism; 12.5% had dementia; median age was 74.7 years; median disease duration was 7 years; 55.9% had at least one fall in the past 2 years; 65.0% of them sustained an injury; 33.0% sustained a fracture; 75.5% of injuries required health care services; 40.6% of fractures required surgery. Older age, atypical parkinsonism, longer disease duration, and dementia were risk factors for falling; female sex and older age were predictors of fractures. Need for health care services after an injury was higher among older patients. Further prospective studies will be necessary to elucidate the specific prognostic outcomes of injuries due to falls among parkinsonian patients, and the impact of these injuries on disease progression and quality of life.
Copyright 2004 Movement Disorder Society.