36 patients aged 65 and over who were admitted to hospital after suffering a fall were examined soon after admission and followed for 4 months. 10 patients developed a severe tendency to clutch and grab and were unable to walk unsupported; 9 of these died or were still in hospital 4 months later. 16 patients showed similar signs but were able to walk independently; 5 of these died or were still in hospital after 4 months. 10 patients had no features of the post-fall syndrome; only 1 of these died within 4 months, and one of the survivors remained in hospital. The syndrome may represent the end result of a positive feed-back relationship between disturbed balance and falls.

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