OBJECTIVE: To investigate differences between older men and women in Taiwan in personal and situational risk factors for sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI) versus soft-tissue injury (STI) due to a fall.
DESIGN: Matched case-control study.
PARTICIPANTS AND SETTINGS: Cases were defined as patients with a primary diagnosis of TBI due to a fall and were identified from those 60 years or older who visited the emergency department (ED) of 3 university-affiliated hospitals in 2015. Matched by the same hospital ED, gender, and time of falling, 3 controls who had no TBI and who had sustained only soft-tissue injury (STI) due to falling were selected for comparison with each case. Personal factors and situational exposures were compared between the control and case groups. In total, 96 cases and 288 controls in men and 72 cases and 216 controls in women participated in this study.
MAIN MEASURES: Personal factors (sociodemographic and lifestyle factors, medical characteristics, and functional abilities) and situational exposures (location, activities before the fall, center-of-mass change, type of fall, falling direction, protective response, and impact during the fall).
RESULTS: In men, after adjusting for other variables, older age (odds ratio [OR] = 1.04), regular alcohol use (OR = 2.03), an indoor fall (OR = 1.92), activity of getting in/out of bed (OR = 2.56), a fall due to dizziness (OR = 4.09), and falling backward (OR = 2.95) were independently associated with a higher odds of TBI. In women, an older age (OR = 1.03), the presence of Parkinson disease (OR = 10.4), activities of toileting (OR = 2.50), getting in/out of bed (OR = 4.90), and negotiating stairs (OR = 7.13), a fall due to dizziness (OR = 5.05), and falling backward (OR = 2.61) were independently associated with a higher odds of TBI.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrated similarities and differences in personal and situational risk factors for fall-related TBIs versus STIs between older men and women, and gender differences should be considered when developing intervention strategies.