Turkish Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

A quantitative assessment of the risk of falls in rheumatoid arthritis patients and determination of the risk factors

Emine Esra Ergül 1 ,Meltem Alkan Melikoğlu 2
1 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Erzincan Binali Yıldırım University Mengücek Gazi Training and Research Hospital, Erzincan, Turkey
2 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Atatürk University Training and Research Hospital, Erzurum, Turkey
DOI : 10.5606/tftrd.2022.7868 Objectives: The aim of this study was to compare the risk of falling in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to the healthy individuals and to identify the factors affecting the risk of falls.

Patients and methods: Between October 2015 and August 2016, a total of 100 consecutive patients with RA (16 males, 84 females; mean age: 49.5±11.1 years; range, 21 to 65 years) and 50 healthy controls (11 males, 39 females; mean age: 34.3±12.7 years; range, 19 to 63 years) were included in this prospective study. The fall risk was evaluated using the Tetrax Portable Balance System. The Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index (HAQ-DI), RA disease activity (Disease Activity Score 28 [DAS28], Clinical Disease Activity Index [CDAI], and Simple Disease Activity Index [SDAI]), and Falls Efficacy Scale International (FES-I) were applied to all participants.

Results: The fall risk scores and the FES-I scores were significantly higher in the patients with RA than the control group (p<0.001, p<0.001). A positive significant correlation was found between the Tetrax values of the patients and age, and the scores of the HAQ-DI, FES, DAS28, DAS28-C-reactive protein, CDAI and SDAI.

Conclusion: Our study results showed higher fall risk scores in patients with RA than healthy individuals an objective computerized technique, and this higher fall risk appeared to be affected by older age, disease activity, and disability. Keywords : Disease activity, fall risk, rheumatoid arthritis