Long-term factors associated with falls and fractures poststroke

Emma J. Foster, Raphae S. Barlas, Joao H. Bettencourt-Silva, Allan B. Clark, Anthony K. Metcalf, Kristian M. Bowles, John F. Potter, Phyo K. Myint

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Background: Risk factors for poststroke falls and fractures remain poorly understood. This study aimed to evaluate which factors increased risk of these events after stroke.

Methods: Data from 7,267 hospitalized stroke patients were acquired from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Stroke Register from 2003–2015. The impacts of multiple patient level and stroke characteristics and comorbidities on post-discharge falls and fractures were assessed. Univariate and multivariable models were constructed, adjusting for multiple confounders, using binary logistic regression for short-term analysis (up to 1-year post-discharge) and Cox-proportional hazard models for longer term analysis (1–3, 3–5, and 0–10 years follow-up).

Results: The mean age (SD) was 76.3 ± 12.1 years at baseline. 1,138 (15.7%) participants had an incident fall; and 666 (9.2%) an incident fracture during the 10-year follow-up (total person years = 64,447.99 for falls and 67,726.70 for fractures). Half of the sample population were females (50.6%) and the majority had an ischemic stroke (89.8%). After adjusting for confounders: age, sex, previous history of falls, and atrial fibrillation were associated with an increased risk of both falls and fractures during follow-up. Furthermore, chronic kidney disease and hyperlipidemia were associated with an increased risk of falls, while previous stroke/transient ischemic attack increased fracture risk. Total anterior circulation stroke and a prestroke modified Rankin Scale score of 3–5 were associated with decreased risk of both events, with hypertension and cancer decreasing risk of falls only.

Conclusion: We identified demographic, stroke-related, and comorbid factors associated with poststroke falls and fracture incidence. Further studies are required to examine and establish the relationship between reversible factors and further explore the role of preventative measures to prevent poststroke falls and fractures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number210
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2018


  • falls
  • fracture
  • stroke
  • risk
  • factor

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