Publications

The association between hyperkyphosis and fall incidence among community-dwelling older adults

Koelé, Marije C.; Willems, Hanna C.; Swart, Karin M.A.; Dijk, Suzanne C. van; Lips, Paul; Groot, Lisette C.P.G.M. de; Cammen, Tischa J.M. van der; Zillikens, Carola; Schoor, Natasja M. van; Velde, Nathalie van der

Summary

Summary: Hyperkyphosis, an increased kyphosis angle of the thoracic spine, was associated with a higher fall incidence in the oldest quartile of a large prospective cohort of community-dwelling older adults. Hyperkyphosis could serve as an indicator of an increased fall risk as well as a treatable condition. Introduction: Hyperkyphosis is frequently found in adults aged 65 years and older and may be associated with falls. We aimed to investigate prospectively in community-dwelling older adults whether hyperkyphosis or change in the kyphosis angle is associated with fall incidence. Methods.: Community-dwelling older adults (n = 1220, mean age 72.9 ± 5.7 years) reported falls weekly over 2 years. We measured thoracic kyphosis through the Cobb angle between the fourth and 12th thoracic vertebra on DXA-based vertebral fracture assessments and defined hyperkyphosis as a Cobb angle ≥ 50°. The change in the Cobb angle during follow-up was dichotomized (< 5 or ≥ 5°). Through multifactorial regression analysis, we investigated the association between the kyphosis angle and falls. Results: Hyperkyphosis was present in 15% of the participants. During follow-up, 48% of the participants fell at least once. In the total study population, hyperkyphosis was not associated with the number of falls (adjusted IRR 1.12, 95% CI 0.91–1.39). We observed effect modification by age (p = 0.002). In the oldest quartile, aged 77 years and older, hyperkyphosis was prospectively associated with a higher number of falls (adjusted IRR 1.67, 95% CI 1.14–2.45). Change in the kyphosis angle was not associated with fall incidence. Conclusions: Hyperkyphosis was associated with a higher fall incidence in the oldest quartile of a large prospective cohort of community-dwelling older adults. Because hyperkyphosis is a partially reversible condition, we recommend investigating whether hyperkyphosis is one of the causes of falls and whether a decrease in the kyphosis angle may contribute to fall prevention.