, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 301-305
Date: 30 Apr 2003

Epidemiology of hip and wrist fractures in Cameroon, Africa

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Abstract

Osteoporosis and fragility fractures are believed to be uncommon in Africa. To reevaluate this notion, we documented all patients aged 35 years and older admitted to the two main urban hospitals in Cameroon following a diagnosis of fracture during 2 years. Among 513 patients sustaining fractures (192 women, 321 men), 13.5% of all fractures in women occurred at the hip (n=26), 4.7% at the forearm (n=9), and 81.8% (n=157) at other sites (mainly tibia and femoral shaft). In men, the corresponding figures were 9% (n=29), 1.9% (n=6), and 89.1% (n=286). Of the hip and wrist fractures occurring in women, 80.0% were low energy trauma fractures due to falls, 8.6% were high-energy trauma fractures (road accidents), and 11.4% were undefined. In men, the corresponding figures were 42.9%, 34.3%, and 22.9%. Using the 1997 estimates of the population, the annual incidence rates of low-energy trauma fractures (per 100,000 persons over 35 years and above) were 4.1 in women, 2.2 in men for hip fractures, 1.2 in women, and 0.2 in men for wrist fractures. The pattern of most of the hip and wrist fractures in women is consistent with underlying bone fragility. The low incidence of fragility fractures is confirmed and is likely to be, in part, the result of reduced longevity as only 1.1% of women and 0.7% of men survive beyond 65 years of age.