The incidence and burden of ladder, structure, and scaffolding falls

Brian S. Diggs, Barbara Lenfesty, Melanie Arthur, Jerris R. Hedges, Craig D. Newgard, Richard Mullins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objectives: The national morbidity and mortality associated with falls from a height is incompletely described. The authors estimated the rates of injury, hospitalization, and mortality due to these falls for subgroups of the U.S. population. Methods: Administrative databases (1995-2000) provided national samples of patients treated for injuries following a fall from a height (ICD-9-CM E-codes E881.0, E881.1, or E882). Inpatient data are from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, and emergency department data are from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. A total of 347,484 (95% confidence interval = 308,417 to 386,551) emergency department presentations occur annually for injuries following a fall. Hospitalized patients older than 75 years of age had a 3.3% case fatality, and 42% were discharged to a skilled nursing facility. For patients older than 55 years of age, 86% of falls were not work related. Conclusions: Ladder and structure falls by elders are a substantial emergency department problem warranting thorough clinical evaluation and injury prevention efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-270
Number of pages4
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Accidental falls
  • Risk assessment
  • Wounds and injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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