These authors point out that patients having shoulder surgery are at increased risk for falls for a number of reasons, including advanced age, impaired upper extremity function, the use of shoulder abduction braces, and postoperative use of opioid medications.
Their goal was to examine preoperative fall risk in patients undergoing elective shoulder surgery. They suggest that gait speed and Timed Up and Go (TUG) are well-researched functional measures in the aging population with established cut-off scores indicating increased fall risk.The TUG score (>14 seconds considered high fall risk) and 10 Meter Walk test (<0.7 m/s considered high risk for falls) were recorded for each patient.
They quantified gait speed and TUG scores in a series of patients who were scheduled to undergo either rotator cuff repair (RCR) or total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA).
Fifty-nine percent of all patients were classified as being a high risk for falls based on gait speed <0.7 m/s. Patients in the TSA group were more likely to display preoperative fall risk compared to patients in the RCR group. Twenty-nine percent of TSA patients and 12% of RCR patients were determined to be at high fall risk based on a TUG score >14 seconds. Although patients in the TSA group were older, there was no association between age or ambulatory status and fall risk.