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Recurrent falls and mortality in Parkinson’s disease: a prospective two-year follow-up study


Dr Maarit Matinolli, Department of Neurology, University of Oulu, PO Box 5000, 90014 University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Tel.: +358 50 524 4986
Fax: +358 8 315 4544


Matinolli M, Korpelainen JT, Sotaniemi KA, Myllylä VV, Korpelainen R. Recurrent falls and mortality in Parkinson’s disease: a prospective two-year follow-up study.
Acta Neurol Scand: 2011: 123: 193–200.
© 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

Objectives –  To evaluate the risk factors for recurrent falling and mortality in Parkinson’s disease (PD) in a prospective study design.

Materials and methods –  One hundred and twenty-five PD patients were included in the study. Baseline medical data were collected, and patients were clinically tested for mobility and balance. Falls were prospectively recorded for 2 years. Mortality was documented 4 years after the baseline.

Results –  Seventy-nine patients reported altogether 3125 falls during the follow-up, and 59 patients were classified as recurrent fallers. Altogether 126 fall injuries including six fractures were reported. Eighteen patients had died by the time of the hospital chart review. History of falling (OR 3.02, 95% CI 1.23–7.44) and the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale activities of daily living score (OR 1.13, 95% CI 1.04–1.22) were independent risk factors for recurrent falling in PD, whereas slow walking speed (OR 16.28, 95% CI 1.85–142.97) was an independent risk factor for mortality in PD.

Conclusions –  History of falling and disease severity indicate increased risk of recurrent falls in PD, while patients with slow walking speed may have an increased risk of mortality. Recurrent falling was not associated with increased risk of mortality in PD in this study.