Ambulatory fall-risk assessment: Amount and quality of daily-life gait predict falls in older adults

K.S. van Schooten, M.A.G.M. Pijnappels, S.M. Rispens, P.J.M. Elders, P.T.A.M. Lips, J.H. van Dieen

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Background. Ambulatory measurements of trunk accelerations can provide valuable information on the amount and quality of daily-life activities and contribute to the identification of individuals at risk of falls. We compared associations between retrospective and prospective falls with potential risk factors as measured by daily-life accelerometry. In addition, we investigated predictive value of these parameters for 6-month prospective falls. Methods. One week of trunk accelerometry (DynaPort MoveMonitor) was obtained in 169 older adults (mean age 75). The amount of daily activity and quality of gait were determined and validated questionnaires on fall-risk factors, grip strength, and trail making test were obtained. Six-month fall incidence was obtained retrospectively by recall and prospectively by fall diaries and monthly telephone contact. Results. Among all participants, 35.5% had a history of ≥1 falls and 34.9% experienced ≥1 falls during 6-month follow-up. Logistic regressions showed that questionnaires, grip strength, and trail making test, as well as the amount and quality of gait, were significantly associated with falls. Significant associations differed between retrospective and prospective analyses although odds ratios indicated similar patterns. Predictive ability based on questionnaires, grip strength, and trail making test (area under the curve. 68) improved substantially by accelerometry-derived parameters of the amount of gait (number of strides), gait quality (complexity, intensity, and smoothness), and their interactions (area under the curve. 82). Conclusions. Daily-life accelerometry contributes substantially to the identification of individuals at risk of falls, and can predict falls in 6 months with good accuracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-615
JournalJournals of Gerontology. Series A: Biological Sciences & Medical Sciences
Issue number5
Early online date7 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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