• Research

Gait dynamics to optimize fall risk assessment in geriatric patients admitted to an outpatient diagnostic clinic

Lisette H. J. Kikkert, Maartje H. de Groot, Jos P. van Campen, Jos H. Beijnen, Tibor Hortobagyi, Nicolas Vuillerme, Claudine C. J. Lamoth. . PLoS One 2017 Jun 2;12(6):e0178615. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0178615

Fall prediction in geriatric patients remains challenging because the increased fall risk involves multiple, interrelated factors caused by natural aging and/or pathology. Therefore, we used a multi-factorial statistical approach to model categories of modifiable fall risk factors among geriatric patients to identify fallers with highest sensitivity and specificity with a focus on gait performance. Patients (n = 61, age = 79; 41% fallers) underwent extensive screening in three categories: (1) patient characteristics (e.g., handgrip strength, medication use, osteoporosis-related factors) (2) cognitive function (global cognition, memory, executive function), and (3) gait performance (speed-related and dynamic outcomes assessed by tri-axial trunk accelerometry). Falls were registered prospectively (mean follow-up 8.6 months) and one year retrospectively. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) on 11 gait variables was performed to determine underlying gait properties. Three fall-classification mod- els were then built using Partial Least Squares–Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA), with separate and combined analyses of the fall risk factors. PCA identified ‘pace’, ‘variability’, and ‘coordination’ as key properties of gait. The best PLS-DA model produced a fall classification accuracy of AUC = 0.93. The specificity of the model using patient characteristics was 60% but reached 80% when cognitive and gait outcomes were added. The inclusion of cognition and gait dynamics in fall classification models reduced misclassification. We therefore recommend assessing geriatric patients’ fall risk using a multi-factorial approach that incorporates patient characteristics, cognition, and gait dynamics.

Visit Plos One official website

Published on August 23, 2018