, Volume 19, Issue 9, pp 1267-1273
Date: 24 Jan 2008

Fracture mechanisms and fracture pattern in men and women aged 50 years and older: a study of a 12-year population-based injury register, Umeå, Sweden

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Abstract

Summary

In a study of a 12-year population-based injury register, Umeå, Sweden, we analyzed the fracture mechanisms and fracture pattern in men and women 50 years and older. Low-energy trauma was responsible for the major and costliest part of the fracture panorama, but the pattern differs between age groups.

Introduction

Osteoporosis-related fracture is a major health problem: the number of hip fractures is expected to double to 2030. While osteoporosis is one of many risk factors, trauma is almost always involved. Therefore, we analyzed injury mechanisms in patients aged over 50.

Methods

We registered injury mechanism, cause, diagnosis in all trauma patients at Umeå University hospital, Sweden. This population-based register (1993–2004) comprises a total of 113,668 injuries (29,189 fractures). Patients ≥50 years contributed to 13,279 fractures.

Results

Low-energy trauma (fall <1 m) caused 53% of all fractures ≥50 years and older. In those over 75 low-energy trauma caused >80%. The seasonal variation of fractures was maximally 25%. With increasing age, proximal fractures became more common, in both upper and lower extremities. Proximal locations predominate in older age groups.

Conclusions

Low-energy trauma was responsible for the largest and costliest part of the fracture panorama. In fact, almost all fractures in middle-aged and old people were caused by low-energy mechanisms; thus, most fractures in these patients have a fragility component, and the contribution of osteoporosis-related fractures is more important than previously thought. A better understanding of injury mechanisms also in low-energy trauma is a prerequisite for preventive interventions.

An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00198-008-0628-9