Fall prediction in neurological gait disorders: differential contributions from clinical assessment, gait analysis, and daily-life mobility monitoring.

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To evaluate the predictive validity of multimodal clinical assessment outcomes and quantitative measures of in- and off-laboratory mobility for fall-risk estimation in patients with different forms of neurological gait disorders.The occurrence, severity, and consequences of falls were prospectively assessed for 6 months in 333 patients with early stage gait disorders due to vestibular, cerebellar, hypokinetic, vascular, functional, or other neurological diseases and 63 healthy controls. At inclusion, participants completed a comprehensive multimodal clinical and functional fall-risk assessment, an in-laboratory gait examination, and an inertial-sensor-based daily mobility monitoring for 14 days. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to identify explanatory characteristics for predicting the (1) the fall status (non-faller vs. faller), (2) the fall frequency (occasional vs. frequent falls), and (3) the fall severity (benign vs. injurious fall) of patients.40% of patients experienced one or frequent falls and 21% severe fall-related injuries during prospective fall assessment. Fall status and frequency could be reliably predicted (accuracy of 78 and 91%, respectively) primarily based on patients’ retrospective fall status. Instrumented-based gait and mobility measures further improved prediction and provided independent, unique information for predicting the severity of fall-related consequences.Falls- and fall-related injuries are a relevant health problem already in early stage neurological gait disorders. Multivariate regression analysis encourages a stepwise approach for fall assessment in these patients: fall history taking readily informs the clinician about patients’ general fall risk. In patients at risk of falling, instrument-based measures of gait and mobility provide critical information on the likelihood of severe fall-related injuries.

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Authors: Roman Schniepp, Anna Huppert, Julian Decker, Fabian Schenkel, Cornelia Schlick, Atal Rasoul, Marianne Dieterich, Thomas Brandt, Klaus Jahn, Max Wuehr