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Parkinson’s Disease
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 906274, 16 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/906274
Review Article

Recurrent Falls in Parkinson’s Disease: A Systematic Review

Clinical and Rehabilitation Sciences Research Group, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, P.O. Box 170, Lidcombe, NSW 1825, Australia

Received 4 September 2012; Accepted 12 November 2012

Academic Editor: Sandy Brauer

Copyright © 2013 Natalie E. Allen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Most people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) fall and many experience recurrent falls. The aim of this review was to examine the scope of recurrent falls and to identify factors associated with recurrent fallers. A database search for journal articles which reported prospectively collected information concerning recurrent falls in people with PD identified 22 studies. In these studies, 60.5% (range 35 to 90%) of participants reported at least one fall, with 39% (range 18 to 65%) reporting recurrent falls. Recurrent fallers reported an average of 4.7 to 67.6 falls per person per year (overall average 20.8 falls). Factors associated with recurrent falls include: a positive fall history, increased disease severity and duration, increased motor impairment, treatment with dopamine agonists, increased levodopa dosage, cognitive impairment, fear of falling, freezing of gait, impaired mobility and reduced physical activity. The wide range in the frequency of recurrent falls experienced by people with PD suggests that it would be beneficial to classify recurrent fallers into sub-groups based on fall frequency. Given that there are several factors particularly associated with recurrent falls, fall management and prevention strategies specifically targeting recurrent fallers require urgent evaluation in order to inform clinical practice.