Increased Morbidity and Mortality Associated with Falls Among Patients with Cirrhosis

Published:February 15, 2018DOI:



      Injuries are more morbid and complicated to manage in patients with cirrhosis. However, data are limited regarding the relative risk of injury and severity of injury from falls in patients with cirrhosis compared with those without cirrhosis.


      We examined the nationally representative National Emergency Department Sample, an all-payer database including all patients presenting with falls, 2009-2012. We determined the relative risks for and clinical associations with severe injuries. Outcomes included hospitalization, length of stay, costs, and in-hospital death. Outcomes were compared with those of patients with congestive heart failure.


      We identified 102,977 visits involving patients with cirrhosis and 26,996,120 involving patients without cirrhosis who presented with a fall. Overall and compared with patients with congestive heart failure, the adjusted risk of severe injury was higher for patients with cirrhosis. These included intracranial hemorrhage (2.33; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.02-2.68), skull fracture (1.75; 95% CI, 1.53-2.00), and pelvic fracture (1.71; 95% CI, 1.56-1.88). Risk was lower for less-severe injuries, such as concussion (0.95; 95% CI, 0.86-1.06) and lower-leg fracture (0.86; 95% CI, 0.80-0.91). Risk factors significantly positively associated with severe injury on multivariate analysis were hepatic encephalopathy, alcohol abuse, and infection. Cirrhosis was associated with increased risk of in-hospital death, longer length of stay, and higher costs after a fall. All outcomes were worse compared with those for patients with congestive heart failure


      Falls are common in patients with cirrhosis, and they are more likely to incur severe injuries, with increased hospital costs and risk of death. Poor outcomes are most associated with ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, alcohol abuse, and infection, highlighting the subgroups at highest risk and most likely to benefit from preventative interventions.


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