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Risk of post-discharge fall-related injuries among adult patients with syncope: A nationwide cohort study

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BACKGROUND: Syncope could be related to high risk of falls and injury in adults, but documentation is sparse. We examined the association between syncope and subsequent fall-related injuries in a nationwide cohort.

METHODS: By cross-linkage of nationwide registers, all residents ≥18 years with a first-time diagnosis of syncope were identified between 1997-2012. Syncope patients were matched 1:1 with individuals from the general population. The absolute one-year risk of fall-related injuries, defined as fractures and traumatic head injuries requiring hospitalization, was calculated using Aalen-Johansen estimator. Ratios of the absolute one-year risk of fall-related injuries (ARR) were assessed by absolute risk regression analysis.

RESULTS: We identified 125,763 patients with syncope: median age 65 years (interquartile range 46-78). At one year, follow-up was complete for 99.8% where a total of 8394 (6.7%) patients sustained a fall-related injury requiring hospitalization, of which 1606 (19.1%) suffered hip fracture. In the reference group, 4049 (3.2%) persons had a fall-related injury. The one-year ARR of a fall-related injury was 1.79 (95% confidence interval 1.72-1.87, P<0.001) in patients with syncope compared with the reference group; however, increased ARR was not exclusively in older patients. Factors independently associated with increased ARR of fall-related injuries in the syncope population were: injury in past 12 months, 2.39 (2.26-2.53, P<0.001), injury in relation to the syncope episode, 1.62 (1.49-1.77, P<0.001), and depression, 1.37 (1.30-1.45, P<0.001).

CONCLUSION: Patients with syncope were at 80% increased risk of severe fall-related injuries within the year following discharge. Notably, increased risk was not exclusively in older patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS One
Volume13
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)e0206936
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2018

ID: 56115862