Imaging workup of falls

Dr Amit Chakraborty, Aug 2020


Falls in the elderly remain as one of the most compelling challenges in the ageing Australian population. Every year, a large number of hospital admissions and emergency department presentations take place due to falls in the elderly. This causes significant burden to our already overstretched hospital healthcare system. As the Australian population grow older and older, falls are only going to be a more pertinent problem going forward.

Imaging workup for falls:

The imaging workup of falls can be generally classified into subsections

A. Falls prevention workup

B. Falls investigation workup

A. Falls prevention workup.

A number of imaging studies can be used as screening tools to assess the general health and well-being of our elderly population, particularly those that are at increased risk of falls.

This study is that are commonly performed to assess the risk of falls include:

  1. Chest x-ray
  2. CT brain
  3. Bone mineral densitometry
  4. Lower limb radiographs for assessment of osteoarthritis

A number of other imaging studies may be suited to individual patient’s presenting conditions. These include assessment of the carotid arteries by carotid Doppler ultrasound examination, as well as CT angiography of the neck vessels and assessment of cardiac function

B. Falls investigation:

This involves assessment of potential injuries such as head injuries, injuries to the bones and soft tissues and internal organs.

The following investigations may be helpful:

  1. CT brain
  2. Plain radiographs
  3. Abdominal or Chest CT if injuries are suspected
  4. CT scan of the cervical spine, if neck injury is suspected

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