The incidence of fall injury events among the elderly in a defined population

Am J Epidemiol. 1990 Jun;131(6):1028-37. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a115594.


Falls are a leading cause of death from injury among older persons in the United States, and about one in three older persons falls each year. Yet, reliable estimates of the incidence of fall injury events in a population-based setting are not readily available. Therefore, the authors analyzed population-based surveillance data, between July 1985 and June 1987, from the Study to Assess Falls Among the Elderly, Miami Beach, Florida. The rate of fall injury events coming to acute medical attention increased exponentially with age for both elderly men and women (predominantly white), reaching a high for those aged 85 years or more of 138.5 per 1,000 for males and 158.8 per 1,000 for females. Compared with males, females had a higher incidence of fractures other than skull. Males were nearly twice as likely to die, however, following a fall injury event than were females. Of those fall injury events identified through the surveillance system, about 42% resulted in hospital admission. The mean length of hospital stay was 11.6 days overall and was 15.5 days for hip fracture, 9.8 days for skull fracture/intracranial injury, 11.2 days for all other fractures, and 9.1 days for all other injuries. About 50% of fall injury events that occurred at home and required hospital admission resulted in a person being discharged to a nursing home.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Accidents / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Florida / epidemiology
  • Hip Fractures / epidemiology
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance
  • Skull Fractures / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*