Postoperative falls in the acute hospital setting: characteristics, risk factors, and outcomes in males

Published:September 20, 2010DOI:



      Hospital falls are an important cause of morbidity in older surgical patients. The objectives of this study were to describe the characteristics, risk factors, and outcomes for postoperative falls.


      A retrospective study was performed on patients who were admitted to the hospital for more than 23 hours after surgery. Patients who fell within 30 days of their surgery were considered to have experienced a postoperative fall.


      Over 5 years and 9,625 inpatient surgical procedures, 154 patients experienced 190 falls. Injuries resulting from postoperative falls included major injury (hip fracture), less than 1%; injury requiring intervention, 2%; injury not requiring intervention, 27%; and no injury, 70%. Variables associated with postoperative falls included older age, functional dependence, lower albumin level, and higher American Society of Anesthesia score.


      One or more postoperative falls occurred in 1.6% of surgical inpatients and can lead to significant morbidity. Recognition of fall risk factors will help design postoperative fall prevention programs by identifying patients at highest risk for postoperative falls.


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