27 May 2022 : Clinical Research3CDEF, Maria Helena Santos de Oliveira 4BCD, Michał Kuboń2BCD, Grzegorz Juszczyk5AE, Brandon Michael Henry6CE
Med Sci Monit 2022; 28:e936547
BACKGROUND: During the current Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, falls have been identified as a potential presenting symptom in patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection; however, data on factors increasing fall risk in this patient population are limited. This study aimed to examine the factors that may predispose hospitalized COVID-19 disease patients to falls.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: In this retrospective observational study, hospitalized COVID-19 disease patients were examined for fall incidence, as well as demographics, comorbidities, and clinical and laboratory data. Patients were stratified according to their fall status and their characteristics were compared using Fisher’s exact test or Mann-Whitney U test. A total of 312 hospitalized COVID-19 disease patients were enrolled (median age, 75 years; males, 51.3%), of whom 11 (3.5%) fell.
RESULTS: There was a greater prevalence of falls among patients who experienced arrhythmias than those that did not (28.6% vs 1.7%; P<0.001). Additionally, a significantly greater proportion of those that were discharged to the internal ward and to the intensive care unit fell (10.3% and 10.0%, respectively) compared to those that were discharged home (1.6%, P=0.008). Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) was significantly elevated in patients who fell (5.3 vs 0.97 µIU/mL, P=0.013), while alanine aminotransferase (ALT) was significantly lower in those who fell (17.1 vs 33.5 IU/L, P=0.041).
CONCLUSIONS: Arrhythmias may be an important predisposing factor for falls in COVID-19 disease patients and fall prevention programs should prioritize interventions directed at this vulnerable patient population.
Keywords: Accidental Falls, Arrhythmias, Cardiac, COVID-19, Risk Factors, Syncope
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