Session Time: 1:15pm-2:45pm
Location: Les Muses, Level 3
Objective: The aim of this prospective study was to investigate the association of gait disorders (GDs) and quantitative gait measures with future falls in an existing longitudinal population-based cohort.
Background: Recurrent falls are common in the general elderly population and represent a major source of serious adverse health outcomes such as fractures, institutionalization and death. Previous cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have linked the occurrence of GDs to recurrent falls . However, there is only limited prospective data with long-term follow-up on this association.
Method: The study included 342 subjects aged 59–93 years of the Bruneck Study cohort in a baseline and a 6-year follow-up assessment. At baseline, participants underwent a clinical qualitative gait evaluation (to determine neurological and non-neurological GDs) and an assessment of simple quantitative gait measures (Hauser Index, Tinetti gait and balance scale, and gait speed) [1,2]. Participants with recurrent falls at baseline were excluded from analysis (n=14). A logistic regression analysis adjusted for age and sex was performed to calculate odds ratios (OR) of baseline variables for future falls.
Results: At follow-up 22 subjects (6.7%) reported recurrent falls. GDs in general and neurological GDs in particular were predictive for future falls (OR 4.1; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.6-10.9; p=0.005 for GDs in general and OR 4.85; 95%CI 1.6-15.0; p=0.006 for neurological GDs), while there was no association for non-neurological GDs with falls. All three simple gait tests were predictive for future falls (Hauser Index, p=0.002; Tinetti gait and balance scale, p=0.006; gait speed, p<0.001).
Conclusion: Both, a neurological gait evaluation and simple gait tests have significant predictive value for falls assessed as long as 6 years after gait evaluation.
References:  Mahlknecht P, Kiechl S, Bloem BR, Willeit J, Scherfler C, Gasperi A, et al. Prevalence and burden of gait disorders in elderly men and women aged 60-97 years: a population-based study. PLoS One. 2013;8(7):e69627.  Snijders AH, van de Warrenburg BP, Giladi N, Bloem BR. Neurological gait disorders in elderly people: clinical approach and classification. Lancet Neurol. 2007;6(1):63-74.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:K. Marini, P. Mahlknecht, O. Schorr, M. Baumgartner, A. Djamshidian, A. Gasperi, S. Kiechl, G. Rungger, H. Stockner, J. Willeit, W. Poewe, K. Seppi. Associations of gait disorders and future falls in the elderly: a prospective population-based study [abstract]. Mov Disord. 2019; 34 (suppl 2). https://www.mdsabstracts.org/abstract/associations-of-gait-disorders-and-future-falls-in-the-elderly-a-prospective-population-based-study/. Accessed December 2, 2023.
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MDS Abstracts - https://www.mdsabstracts.org/abstract/associations-of-gait-disorders-and-future-falls-in-the-elderly-a-prospective-population-based-study/