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Published online Apr 17, 2012. doi: 10.1186/1471-2288-12-50
Table 1
Types of definitions used to describe injurious falls in RCTs
Type of definition, n (%)Description of definition
Based only on symptoms, 16 (39%)

Fractures only,
6 (14%)
• Hip fractures and non-hip fractures [40]
• All fractures [41-45]

AIS definition,
3 (7%)
• AIS scores: 1 = minor injury, 2 = moderate injury, 3 = severe, non-life-threatening injury, 4 = severe, life-threatening injury, 5 = critical injury [46,47]
• Adapted AIS Scale ranging from "no injury, no pain" (level 1) to "fractures of hip, leg, or skull" (level 7) [48]

Other definitions,
7 (17%)
• Bruises, strains, cuts and abrasions, back pain and fractures [49,50]
• Any detectable residual adverse physical change persisting beyond 1 hr after the fall [51]
• Fractures or soft tissue injuries [52]
• Cuts and bruises, fractures or other trauma [53]
• If participants indicated that they were injured by the fall, irrespective of the severity of the injuries [54]
• Fracture, dislocations, and organ and soft tissue trauma [55]

Based on symptoms and healthcare use, 18 (44%)

FICSIT definition,
4 (10%)
• Original FICSIT definition: Fractures, head injuries requiring hospitalisation, joint dislocations, sprains and lacerations requiring suturing [56,57]
• Modified FICSIT definition: fractures, other head injuries with altered consciousness, joint dislocations or sprains, or sutured lacerations [58]; Fractures, head injuries requiring hospitalisation, joint dislocations, severe sprains and lacerations requiring suturing [59]

Definition according to Campbell et al. [36],
6 (15%)
• Serious: fracture or admission to hospital or if any wounds needed stitches (sutures); moderate: bruising, sprains, cuts, abrasions, or a reduction in physical function for at least three days, or if the participant sought medical help [36-39,60,61]

Other definitions,
8 (20%)
• dislocations, injuries of chest, abdomen, or pelvis; open wounds requiring suturing; injuries to blood vessels; crushing injuries; and injuries to nerves and spinal cord [62]
• Injury: any sequelae relating from a fall; serious injury: sprains, joint dislocation, hip fracture, other fracture, transfer to acute hospital, urgent physician visit, radiological examination [63]
• Injury falls: any fracture, strain, sprain, laceration, or persistent pain (more than seven days); Medical care falls: any fall for which medical care was sought; Fracture falls and hospitalised falls [64]
• Fractures, dislocations and soft tissue injuries needing suturing and even more severe injuries [65]
• Fractures, head injuries, sprains, bruises, scrapes, or other serious joint injuries, or if the participant sought medical care [66]
• Medical attention falls were coded ranging from no injury (0) to broken bone (4) [67]
• Cut, scrape, gash, bruise or fracture; a head injury resulted or where the fall resulted in hospitalisation [68]
• Fractures and hospital admission [69]

Based only on healthcare use, 7 (17%)

Healthcare use definition,
7 (17%)
• Medical treatment [70,71]
• Hospital visits or admission for the treatment of a fracture or suspected fracture [72]
• Medical care [73]
• Falls requiring medical attention [74]
• Doctor's or hospital attendance [75]
• General practitioner or emergency department or admission to the hospital [76]
n = number of articles used a specific definition; AIS = Abbreviated Injury Scale [77]; FICSIT = Frailty and Injuries: Cooperative Studies of Intervention Techniques [78]
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