Clinical risk factors for orthostatic hypotension: Results among elderly fallers in long-term care

Deanna Gray-Miceli, Sarah J. Ratcliffe, Arwin Thomasson, Patricia Quigley, Kang Li, William Craelius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background Patients at greatest risk for fall-related injuries are older adults with orthostatic hypotension (OH), a condition which drops blood pressure. This study sought to determine salient demographic and patient-level factors increasing risk for OH among a sample of elderly fallers. Methods Data analysis for this retrospective study sought to assess the relationship between various demographic and clinical risk factors and the likelihood of OH. Because fallers could experience multiple falls, generalized estimating equations were used to account for patient-level correlations. Results One hundred seventeen falls occurred in 47 patients, who were primarily female with a mean age of 90.7 years. Falls resulted in 18 cases of OH. Orthostatic hypotension cases were less likely to have a gait in a steady line (5.6% vs 55.6%, P = 0.001). Patients with decreased muscular coordination were almost 5 times more likely to experience OH than those with no coordination problems (odds ratio = 4.86, P = 0.02). Patients with gait in a steady line were less likely to experience OH after a fall (OR = 0.06, P = 0.006). Conclusions Orthostatic hypotension is potentially modifiable once detected. Evidenced-based protocol for assessment and management of OH among patients with gait and balance impairment is presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E143-E147
JournalJournal of Patient Safety
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Leadership and Management
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • falls prevention
  • long term care
  • older adults
  • orthostatic hypotension
  • patient safety


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