Publication Date



BMC Cardiovascular Disorders


BACKGROUND: Older adults hospitalized for heart failure (HF) are at risk for falls after discharge. One modifiable contributor to falls is fall risk-increasing drugs (FRIDs). However, the prevalence of FRIDs among older adults hospitalized for HF is unknown. We describe patterns of FRIDs use and examine predictors of a high FRID burden.

METHODS: We used the national biracial REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study, a prospective cohort recruited from 2003-2007. We included REGARDS participants aged ≥ 65 years discharged alive after a HF hospitalization from 2003-2017. We determined FRIDs -cardiovascular (CV) and non-cardiovascular (non-CV) medications - at admission and discharge from chart abstraction of HF hospitalizations. We examined the predictors of a high FRID burden at discharge via modified Poisson regression with robust standard errors.

RESULTS: Among 1147 participants (46.5% women, mean age 77.6 years) hospitalized at 676 hospitals, 94% were taking at least 1 FRID at admission and 99% were prescribed at least 1 FRID at discharge. The prevalence of CV FRIDs was 92% at admission and 98% at discharge, and the prevalence of non-CV FRIDs was 32% at admission and discharge. The most common CV FRID at admission (88%) and discharge (93%) were antihypertensives; the most common agents were beta blockers (61% at admission, 75% at discharge), angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (36% vs. 42%), and calcium channel blockers (32% vs. 28%). Loop diuretics had the greatest change in prevalence (53% vs. 72%). More than half of the cohort (54%) had a high FRID burden (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) score ≥ 6), indicating high falls risk after discharge. In a multivariable Poisson regression analysis, the factors strongly associated with a high FRID burden at discharge included hypertension (PR: 1.41, 95% CI: 1.20, 1.65), mood disorder (PR: 1.24, 95% CI: 1.10, 1.38), and hyperpolypharmacy (PR: 1.88, 95% CI: 1.64, 2.14).

CONCLUSIONS: FRID use was nearly universal among older adults hospitalized for HF; more than half had a high FRID burden at discharge. Further work is needed to guide the management of a common clinical conundrum whereby guideline indications for treating HF may contribute to an increased risk for falls.


Humans, Female, Aged, Male, Accidental Falls, Prospective Studies, Hospitalization, Patient Discharge, Heart Failure



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