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Biomechanical System Evaluates Risk of Falling

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 08 Feb 2018
A novel Android-based platform measures a patient’s walking pattern, balance, muscular strength, and several temporal variables to evaluate the risk of falling.

The FallSkip evaluation system, developed at Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV; Spain), is designed to help medical staff perform a global evaluation of the risk of falling, by combining a biomechanical test using an inertial measurement unit (IMU) integrated into an android device with other risk factors, including age, gender, and the patient’s previous medical record. The system, which is based on a clinical protocol modified from the Time up Go (TUG) test, is composed of a registry system and a measurement protocol specifically designed for evaluating the risk of falling.

Image: An innovative biomechanical platform based on Android calculates fall risk (Photo courtesy of UPV).
Image: An innovative biomechanical platform based on Android calculates fall risk (Photo courtesy of UPV).

The test is performed in four consecutive phases that last one minute: the measuring device, located on the lower back, registers the accelerations generated by the patient during the test. With the measured acceleration, the system accurately calculates the biomechanical variables associated with the risk of falling: balance, gait, the ability to sit down and get up, and reaction time following a sonic stimuli. The final score combines the result of the biomechanical test with the main risk factors to deliver a simple and accurate fall risk index.

“FallSkip performs an objective segmentation of the risk of falling of each patient, making it possible to define preventive and personalized clinical intervention adapted to their needs,” said David Garrido, head of the UPV Biomechanics Institute (IBV). “Thanks to this fact it becomes an ideal test to use in any clinical context, where both objectivity and time saving is of the utmost importance in order to perform the various protocols used by medical staff.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO; Geneva, Switzerland), an elderly person is seen to every 11 seconds in an emergency room after a fall, and up to 30% of people over 65 and 50% of those over 80 fall at least once a year. The result of a majority of these falls is a hip fracture, with about 60,000 elderly people dying every year as a result of falls.

Related Links:
Universitat Politècnica de València
World Health Organization


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