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Falls in people living with HIV : a scoping review

Charumbira, Maria Yvonne ; Berner, Karina ; Louw, Quinette Abegail (2020-11)

CITATION: Charumbira, Maria Yvonne, Berner, Karina & Louw, Quinette Abegail. Falls in people living with HIV : a scoping review. BMJ Open, 10:e034872, doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2019-034872.

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Objectives: Recent research has indicated seemingly increased propensity for falls and accelerated bone demineralisation in people living with HIV (PLWH). We aim to map out the extent and nature of existing research relating to falls in PLWH and describe the relationship between bone demineralisation and falls in PLWH. Methods: A scoping review was done following Arksey & O’Malley’s methodological framework and recommendations from Joanna Briggs Institute. Four databases were searched until October 2019 for peer-reviewed studies available in English reporting on the definition, prevalence, assessment, risk factors and interventions for falls in PLWH as well as information on bone demineralisation linked to falls in PLWH. Narrative reviews were excluded. Two reviewers independently performed the extraction using a predesigned Excel sheet. A descriptive analysis of extracted information was done. Results: Fourteen studies on falls in older PLWH were identified, with all but one study conducted in high-income countries. Prevalence of falls in PLWH ranged from 12% to 41%. Variable assessment tools/tests were used to assess potential risk factors, but it remains to be determined which are more predictive and appropriate for use among PLWH. Considerable agreement existed for risk factors regarding use of medications while evidence regarding functional and cognitive impairments were variable. Few studies compared risk factors for falls in PLWH with those in age-matched and sex-matched seronegative population. There is currently no evidence for interventions to prevent or reduce falls risk in PLWH. Conclusion More research is needed on falls in younger cohorts of PLWH and in sub-Saharan Africa where HIV is most prevalent and more robust clades exist. More studies need to report on data in seronegative controls to determine risk factors unique to PLWH. More intervention studies targeted at falls prevention and promotion of bone health are required. Quality clinical practice guidelines highlighting validated assessment tools and outcome measures need to be developed.

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