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March 1, 1985

Curb Those Tubes

JAMA. 1985;253(9):1259. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350330053007

To the Editor.—  Most hip fractures in geriatric patients result from low-energy trauma, defined as no more than a fall to the same level one is standing on.1 The etiology of falls includes a lengthy differential diagnosis.2 A subgroup is composed of individuals tripping over objects in the environment. Lucht3 reported that of 472 falls occurring at home in patients older than 60 years who required hospital evaluation, 11% were caused by tripping over an object. We report two cases of geriatric patients who tripped over their home oxygen tubing, sustaining hip fractures.

Report of Cases.—  Case 1.—An 87-year-old man was ambulatory and lived with his wife. Health problems included chronic arterial fibrillation and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Because of resting hypoxia and dyspnea on exertion, home oxygen therapy was initiated one month prior to admission, with placement of an oxygen-concentrating unit in the living room of