Objectives Falls from standing are an important cause of vertebral fractures, particularly in the elderly. They are associated with significant morbidity and long-term mortality. The aim of this study was to determine the treatment and outcomes, in a single centre, of managing spinal fractures due to falls from standing height.
Design Retrospective case note review of patients with a fracture sustained due to a fall from standing (2011–2016 inclusive).
Subjects 229 patients with average age 76.6±14.5 years; 134 (58.5%) female.
Methods Patients were identified from the Trauma Audit and Research Network database. Case notes were reviewed for demographics, treatment details and outcome at 6 months post-admission.
Results 1408 patients were admitted with spinal fractures of which 229 (16.3%) sustained a fall from standing height. Two hundred and eighty-three fractures were identified in the 229 patients, which were distributed in the cervical (n=140), thoracic (n=65) and lumbar (n=78) spine. The average ISS score was 9.7±5.4. Twenty-three (10.0%) patients had either incomplete or complete spinal cord injury. Fifty-six (24.5%) patients underwent surgical intervention. Forty-three patients (18.7%) died within 6 months and increasing age and Charlson co-morbidity score were associated with higher mortality.
Conclusions Falls from standing comprise a large portion of the spinal service emergency workload. They are associated with a high 6 month mortality similar to other fragility fractures experienced by the elderly.
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