Epidemiological Survey of Quantitative Ultrasound in Risk Assessment of Falls in Middle-Aged and Elderly People

Ling Chun Ou, Zih Jie Sun, Yin Fan Chang, Chin Sung Chang, Ting Hsing Chao, Po Hsiu Kuo, Ruey Mo Lin, Chih Hsing Wu

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9 Citations (Scopus)


The risk assessment of falls is important, but still unsatisfactory and time-consuming. Our objective was to assess quantitative ultrasound (QUS) in the risk assessment of falls. Our study was designed as epidemiological cross-sectional study occurring from March 2009 to February 2010 by community survey at a medical center. The participants were collected from systemic sample of 1,200 community-dwelling people (Male/Female = 524/676) 40 years old and over in Yunlin County, Mid-Taiwan. Structural questionnaires including socioeconomic status, living status, smoking and drinking habits, exercise and medical history were completed. Quantitative ultrasound (QUS) at the non-dominant distal radial area (QUS-R) and the left calcaneal area (QUS-C) were measured. The overall prevalence of falls was 19.8%. In men, the independently associated factors for falls were age (OR: 1.04; 95%CI: 1.01∼1.06), fracture history (OR: 1.89; 95%CI: 1.12∼3.19), osteoarthritis history (OR: 3.66; 95%CI: 1.15∼11.64) and speed of sound (OR: 0.99; 95%CI: 0.99∼1.00; p<0.05) by QUS-R. In women, the independently associated factors for falls were current drinking (OR: 3.54; 95%CI: 1.35∼9.31) and broadband ultrasound attenuation (OR: 0.98; 95%CI: 0.97∼0.99; p<0.01) by QUS-C. The cutoffs at -2.5< T-score<-1 derived using QUS-R (OR: 2.85; 95%CI: 1.64∼4.96; p<0.01) in men or T-score ≦-2.5 derived using QUS-C (OR: 2.72; 95%CI: 1.42∼5.21; p<0.01) in women showed an independent association with falls. The lowest T-score derived using either QUS-R or QUS-C was also revealed as an independent factor for falls in both men (OR: 2.13; 95%CI: 1.03∼4.43; p<0.05) and women (OR: 2.36; 95%CI: 1.13∼4.91; p<0.05). Conclusions: Quantitative ultrasounds, measured either at the radial or calcaneal area, are convenient tools by which to assess the risk of falls in middle-aged and elderly people.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere71053
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Aug 7

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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