Friday, February 28, 2014

Hypertension Medication May Lead to Increased Risk of Fall-Related Injuries

Patients taking medication to treat high blood pressure may be at an increased risk of serious injury from falling, including hip fractures and head injuries. This risk is particularly high for older patients who have been injured in previous falls, according to a new study by Mary E. Tinetti of the Yale School of Medicine, covered on

The study examined the association between blood pressure medication use and serious injury from a fall in nearly 5,000 patients over the age of 70. During a three-year period, nine percent of patients studied had serious fall-related injuries. The risk of serious injury was up to 40 percent higher for patients who used blood pressure medication. Additionally, the risk was more than twice as high for patients who had a previous fall-related injury.

One of the key lessons learned is that to prevent injuries, clinicians should pay greater attention to fall risk for older adults with hypertension, particularly those with a previous injury, researchers said.

The study abstract is available at:
INQRI grantee Patti Dykes worked with a team to develop the Falls: Tailoring Interventions for Patient Safety (Falls TIPS) online tool kit to educate patients and families about how they can work with nurses and other providers to prevent falls. The toolkit was developed based on the Fall TIP: Validation of Icons to Communicate Fall Risk Status and Tailored Interventions to Prevent Patient Falls study, which involved developing and validating a set of icons designed to communicate fall risk status, and developing tailored interventions to prevent patient falls in hospitals.

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