Cumulative Effects of Comorbid Burden and Overactive Bladder Symptoms on Fall Risk Among Older Women Seeking Treatment for Urogynecologic Conditions.

Overactive bladder (OAB) syndrome and urinary incontinence, age, and comorbid burden are strong risk factors for falls in women. Less is known about their cumulative effects on fall risk in a urogynecologic population.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of coexisting OAB, older age, and comorbidities on risk of falling among treatment seeking women with pelvic floor disorders.

We conducted a retrospective medical records review of 348 consecutive women presenting to a urogynecology clinic over 6 months. Fall risk was determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's, Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries screening tool. Clinical and sociodemographic measures were abstracted from the electronic medical record. Odds of screening positive for high fall risk based on different patient profiles were calculated. We then used a classification and regression tree analysis to determine the relative importance of the different variables on fall risk within the homogeneous subgroups.

Of the 348 women (mean age, 58.7 ± 15.8 years) who completed the fall risk screen, 124 (36%) screened positive for increased fall risk. Overactive bladder symptoms increased the likelihood of a positive fall risk screen across all combinations of age and comorbid burden. The patient profile of ≥3 OAB symptoms, ≥4 comorbid conditions, and age 65 years or older increased the odds of screening positive for high fall risk more than 6-fold (odds ratio, 6.4; 95% confidence interval, 3.1-12.9). In the following order of importance, the combination of high comorbid burden, OAB, and older age identified approximately 3 in 4 patients (73.3%) at high risk of falling.

The presence of 3 easily identifiable patient characteristics is strongly associated with a risk of falls in women seeking care for pelvic floor disorders.

Urogynecology (Philadelphia, Pa.). 2023 Mar 08 [Epub ahead of print]

Steve R Fisher, Gabriela E Halder, Mi Jung Lee, Lindsay Allen, Gokhan S Kilic

From the Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health Professions., Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Urogynecology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Galveston, TX.