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Journal Article


Palumbo P, Becker C, Bandinelli S, Chiari L. Aging Clin. Exp. Res. 2019; 31(8): 1069-1076.


Health Sciences and Technologies Interdepartmental Center for Industrial Research, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.


(Copyright © 2019, Editrice Kurtis)






BACKGROUND: The current guidelines for fall prevention in community-dwelling older adults issued by the American Geriatrics Society and British Geriatrics Society (AGS/BGS) indicate an algorithm for identifying who is at increased risk of falling. The predictive accuracy of this algorithm has never been assessed, nor have the consequences that its introduction in clinical practice would bring about. AIMS: To evaluate this risk screening algorithm, estimating its predictive accuracy and its potential impact.

METHODS: The analyses are based on 438 community-dwelling older adults, participating in the InCHIANTI study. We analysed different tests for gait and balance assessment. We compared the AGS/BGS algorithm with alternative strategies for fall prevention not based on fall risk evaluation.

RESULTS: The AGS/BGS screening algorithm (using TUG, cut-off 13.5 s) has a sensitivity for single falls of 35.8% (95% confidence interval 23.2%-52.7%) and a specificity of 84.0% (79.3%-88.4%). It marks 18.0% (13.7%-22.4%) of the older population as at high risk. A policy of targeting people with preventive intervention regardless of their individual risk could be as effective as the policy based on risk screening but at the price of intervening on 17.3% (4.1%-34.0%) more people of the older population.

DISCUSSION: This study is the first that validates and estimates the impact of the screening algorithm of these guidelines. Main limitations are related to some modelling assumptions.

CONCLUSIONS: The AGS/BGS screening algorithm has low sensitivity. Nevertheless, its adoption would bring benefits with respect to policies of preventive interventions that act regardless of individual risk assessment.

Language: en


Fall; Impact; Prevention; Risk; TUG; Validation


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