Frequencies of falls and associated features at different stages of Parkinson's disease

Authors

  • Y. H. Hiorth,

    Corresponding author
    1. Norwegian Centre for Movement Disorders, Stavanger University Hospital, Stavanger, Norway
    • Correspondence: Y. H. Hiorth, The Norwegian Center for Movement Disorders, Stavanger University Hospital, PO Box 8100, N-4068 Stavanger, Norway

      (tel.: +4751518537; fax: +4751515515; e-mail: yhiorth@gmail.com).

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  • K. Lode,

    1. Norwegian Centre for Movement Disorders, Stavanger University Hospital, Stavanger, Norway
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  • J. P. Larsen

    1. Norwegian Centre for Movement Disorders, Stavanger University Hospital, Stavanger, Norway
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Abstract

Background and purpose

To examine the frequencies and clinical characteristics of fallers and non-fallers at different stages of Parkinson's disease (PD).

Methods

The sample consisted of 232 patients in an unselected cross-sectional cohort of patients with PD, 207 newly diagnosed and drug naive patients and 175 controls. The examinations included the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), Hoehn and Yahr, Schwab and England, and Mini-Mental State Examination. According to item 13 of the UPDRS, the participants were classified as fallers, rare-fallers and non-fallers.

Results

In the cross-sectional study cohort, 19% of the patients were classified as fallers and 25% as rare-fallers. Higher scores on activity of daily living (UPDRS ADL score) and motor complications (UPDRS complication of therapy score) were significantly and independently associated with falling. In the cohort of newly diagnosed patients with PD 2% were classified as fallers and 15% as rare-fallers. In the age- and sex-matched control group, none were fallers, and only 2% were rare-fallers. Patients with tremor-dominated PD subtype in both study populations did not fall.

Conclusions

Falls are a markedly increasing problem in patients with PD as the disease progresses. Healthcare workers should ask patients about falling, and specially focus on patients with motor complications or postural instability and gait disability-dominated subtype of parkinsonism.

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