Disease-related outcomes influence prevalence of falls in people with rheumatoid arthritis.


Orthoses and Prostheses Unit, Clinical Hospital, State University of Campinas-Unicamp, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are at increased risk of falls, with potential adverse outcomes. There is a considerable variation across studies regarding the prevalence of falls and its correlation with clinical data, disease-related outcomes and physical performance tests.
OBJECTIVE : The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of falls and its association with clinical data, disease-related outcomes and physical performance tests.
METHODS : In this cross-sectional study, 113 RA patients were divided into 3 groups - "non-fallers", "sporadic fallers" and "recurrent fallers" - and compared in terms of clinical data, Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI), lower-limb tender and swollen joint count, disability (Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability Index [HAQ-DI]), Foot Function Index (FFI), Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Timed-up-and-go Test (TUG) and 5-Time Sit Down-To-Stand Up Test (SST5). Logistic regression analysis was performed to analyze the associations between the studied variables and the occurrence of falls, estimating odds ratios (ORs). We also analyzed the correlation between disease outcome measures (HAQ-DI and CDAI) and physical tests (BBS, TUG, SST5).
RESULTS : Falls and fear of falling were reported by 59 (52.21%) and 71 (64.5%) patients, respectively. Significant associations were found between "recurrent fallers" and vertigo (OR=3.42; P=0.03), fear of falling (OR=3.44; P=0.01), low income (OR=2.02; P=0.04), CDAI (OR=1.08; P<0.01), HAQ-DI (OR=3.66; P<0.01), Lower-limb HAQ (OR=3.48; P<0.01), FFI-pain (OR=1.24; P=0.03), FFI-total (OR=1.23; P=0.04), lower-limb tender joint count (OR=1.22; P<0.01), BBS score (OR=1.14; P<0.01), TUG score (OR=1.13; P=0.03) and SST5 score (OR=1.06; P=0.02). On multivariate analysis, CDAI was the only significant predictor of recurrent falls (OR=1.08; P<0.01). Physical performance test scores (BBS, TUG, SST5) were correlated with the CDAI and HAQ-DI.
CONCLUSIONS : The prevalence of falls in RA is high, most influenced by disease-related outcomes and linked to worse performance on physical tests (BBS, TUG and SST5).


Disability,Disease activity,Falls,Physical performance tests,Rheumatoid Arthritis,