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Journal Article


Juraschek SP, Daya N, Appel LJ, Miller ER, Matsushita K, Michos ED, Windham BG, Ballantyne CM, Selvin E. J. Am. Geriatr. Soc. 2019; 67(9): 1795-1802.


Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.


(Copyright © 2019, John Wiley and Sons)






BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Falls are frequent and often devastating events among older adults. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is associated with greater fall risk; however, it is unknown if pathways that contribute to CVD, such as subclinical myocardial damage or wall strain, are related to future falls. We hypothesized that elevations in high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) and N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), measured in older adults, would be associated with greater fall risk.

DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study participants without known coronary heart disease, heart failure, or stroke. MEASUREMENTS: We measured hs-cTnT or NT-proBNP in 2011 to 2013. Falls were identified from hospital discharge International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9), codes or Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services claims. We used Poisson models adjusted for age, sex, and race/study center to quantify fall rates across approximate quartiles of hs-cTnT (less than 8, 8-10, 11-16, and 17 or greater ng/L) and NT-proBNP (less than 75, 75-124, 125-274, and 275 or greater pg/mL). We used Cox models to determine the association of cardiac markers with fall risk, adjusted for age, sex, race/center, and multiple fall risk factors.

RESULTS: Among 3973 participants (mean age = 76 ± 5 years, 62% women, 22% black), 457 had a subsequent fall during a median follow-up of 4.5 years. Incidence rates across quartiles of hs-cTnT and NT-proBNP were 17.1, 20.0, 26.2, and 36.4 per 1000 person-years and 12.8, 22.2, 28.7, and 48.4 per 1000 person-years, respectively. Comparing highest vs lowest quartiles of either hs-cTnT or NT-proBNP demonstrated a greater than two-fold higher fall risk, with hazard ratios of 2.17 (95% confidence interval {CI} = 1.60-2.95) and 2.34 (95% CI = 1.73-3.16), respectively. In a joint model, the relationships of hs-cTnT and NT-proBNP with falls were significant and independent.

CONCLUSION: Subclinical elevations of cardiac damage and wall strain were each associated with a higher fall risk in older adults. Further research is needed to determine whether interventions that lower hs-cTnT or NT-proBNP also lower fall risk. J Am Geriatr Soc 67:1795-1802, 2019.

© 2019 The American Geriatrics Society.

Language: en


N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide; cardiovascular disease; cohort; falls; high sensitivity cardiac troponin T


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