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01.12.2019 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

BMC Geriatrics 1/2019

Females fall more from heights but males survive less among a geriatric population: insights from an American level 1 trauma center

BMC Geriatrics > Ausgabe 1/2019
Ayman El-Menyar, Elizabeth Tilley, Hassan Al-Thani, Rifat Latifi
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Approximately one third of subjects ≥65 year old and half of subjects ≥80 years old sustain a fall injury each year. We aimed to study the outcomes of fall from a height (FFH) among older adults. We hypothesized that in an elderly population, fall-related injury and mortality are the same in both genders.


A retrospective analysis was conducted between January 2012 and December 2016 in patients who sustained fall injury at age of at least 60 years and were admitted into a Level 1 Trauma center. Patients were divided into 3 groups: Gp-I: 60–69, Gp-II: 70–79 and Gp-III: ≥80 years old. Data were analyzed and compared using Chi-square, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and logistic regression analysis tests.


Forty-three percent (3665/8528) of adult trauma patients had FFH and 59.5% (2181) were ≥ 60 years old and 52% were women. The risk of fall increased with age with an Odd ratio (OR) 1.52 for age 70–79 and an OR 3.40 for ≥80.
Females fell 1.2 times more (age-adjusted OR 1.24; 95% CI 1.05–1.45) and 47% of ≥80 years old suffered FFH. Two-thirds of FFH occurred at a height ≤ 1 m. Injury severity (ISS, NISS and GCS) were worse in Gp-II, lower extremities max Abbreviated Injury score (max AIS) was higher in Gp-III. Overall mortality was 8.7% (Gp-I 3.6% vs. 11.3% in Gp-II and 14% in Gp- III). Males showed higher mortality than females in the entire age groups (Gp-I: 4.6% vs 1%, Gp-II: 12.9% vs 4.2% and Gp-III: 17.3% vs 6.9% respectively). On multivariate analysis, shock index (OR 3.80; 95% CI 1.27–11.33) and male gender (OR 2.70; 95% CI 1.69–4.16) were independent predictors of mortality.


Fall from a height is more common in older adult female patients, but male patients have worse outcomes. Preventive measures for falls at home still are needed for the older adults of both genders.
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