Low falls causing major injury: a retrospective study

Thumbnail Image
Lesko, Kathryn
Deasy, Conor
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
Background: Falling from a height of under 2 m (low fall) is the most common mechanism of injury causing major trauma in Ireland. This presentation encompasses a wide patient cohort, from paediatric sport injuries to elderly falls. Aims: Our aim is to characterise major trauma resulting from a low fall, and its various sub-populations, to identify preventative strategies and care pathways to improve outcomes for patients. Methods: The Trauma Audit and Research Network (TARN) which is used to provide Major Trauma Audit was used to retrospectively identify patients presenting to the Cork University Hospital Emergency Department with trauma resulting from a low fall from January 2015 to June 2018. Results: The database returned 1066 qualifying cases (49.3% of cases in the time period), with a mean age of 67.3 years (SD = 21) and a median age of 71.3 years (IQR = 23); 44% were male. ‘Mechanical falls’ accounted for n = 513 (48%) of low-fall injuries, followed by ‘stationary falls’ n = 265 (25%). Injuries occurred most often at home n = 515 (48%), followed by public places n = 208 (19.5%). The most severely injured body region was the limbs n = 526 (49.3%), followed by the head n = 253 (23.7%). A number of patients with Glasgow Outcome Scores of 4 (moderate disability) and 5 (good recovery) were n = 488 (45.8%) and n = 390 (36.6%). Conclusions: Low falls occur in patients over 55 years of age; many do not return to independent living. Wait times to initial assessment, length of hospital stay and mortality increase with age. Mechanical falls at home are the most common cause of low-fall major trauma.
Cohort , Low fall , Major trauma , Mechanical fall
Lesko, K. and Deasy, C. (2020) ‘Low falls causing major injury: a retrospective study’, Irish Journal of Medical Science, doi: 10.1007/s11845-020-02212-8
© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2020. Published by Springer. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Irish Journal of Medical Science. The final authenticated version is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11845-020-02212-8