1. Aburub, Ala' S. PhD


Background and Purpose: To identify the circumstances of falls and the factors associated with falls among older adults with cardiovascular disease (CVD).


Methods: Baseline (2012) data from the International Mobility in Aging Study (IMIAS), a cross-sectional study, were used. Falling was measured by the subjective question, "Have you fallen in the last 12 months?" Several subjective questions were asked to obtain information about the circumstances of falls. Potential clinical factors associated with falling were cognitive status, depressive symptoms, physical performance, grip strength, visual acuity, and fear of falling (FOF). These clinical factors were measured respectively with the Leganes Cognitive Test, the Center for Epidemiological Studies Scales Depressive Symptoms, the Short Physical Performance Battery, a Jamar handgrip dynamometer, the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) tumbling E chart placed at 2 m, and the Falls Efficacy Scale-International. A [chi]2 test was used to determine whether there were significant differences in fall circumstances among older adults with and without CVD. Two-sample t tests were used to test for any significant differences between older adults with and without CVD. Bonferroni correction was applied to limit type I errors and was corrected to .007. Simple and multiple logistic regressions identified which clinical factors were associated with falling.


Results: A total of 429 older adults with CVD (mean age 69.5 +/- 2.9) and 431 older adults without CVD (69.2 +/- 2.9) participated in the study. Approximately 53% of fallers with CVD had 2 or more falls compared with fallers without CVD (39%). The most common location for falling was at home (43%) for fallers with CVD or in the street (50%) for fallers without CVD. Approximately 9% of fallers with CVD needed to be hospitalized while only 3% of fallers without CVD were admitted to the hospital. Approximately 42% of fallers with CVD had some residual sequelae (eg, being unable to walk around the house or do housework) compared with only 27% of fallers without CVD. Fallers with CVD had significantly (P value < .007) more depressive symptoms (mean +/- SD, 14.7 +/- 12.9) and poorer physical performance (8.4 +/- 3.0) compared with fallers without CVD (10.1 +/- 9.4 and 9.6 +/- 2.5, respectively); however FOF was the only significant clinical factor (P value < .05) associated with falling for older adults with CVD.


Conclusions: Incidence of recurrent falls is higher among older adults with CVD than those without CVD. Circumstances of falls among fallers with CVD differ from those identified among fallers without CVD. Fear of falling was the only predictor of fall history among older adults with CVD. The results suggest the merit of considering FOF when designing prevention and intervention programs to reduce falls among older adults with CVD.