Acute and Long-Term Increase in Fracture Risk after Hospitalization for Vertebral Fracture
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- Johnell, O., Oden, A., Caulin, F. et al. Osteoporos Int (2001) 12: 207. doi:10.1007/s001980170131
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The aims of this study were to determine the magnitude of the increase in risk of further fracture following hospitalization for vertebral fracture, and in particular to determine the time course of this risk. The records of the Swedish Patient Register were examined from 1987 to 1994 to identify all patients who were admitted to hospital for thoracic or lumbar vertebral fractures. Vertebral fractures were characterized as due to high- or low-energy trauma. Patients were followed for subsequent hospitalizations for hip fracture, and for all fractures combined. A Poisson model was used to determine the absolute risk of subsequent nonvertebral fracture and compared with that of the general population. We analyzed 13.4 million hospital admissions from which 28.869 individuals with vertebral fracture were identified, of which 60% were associated with low-energy trauma. There was a marked increase in subsequent incidence of hip and all fractures within the first year following hospitalization for vertebral fracture in both men and women. Thereafter, fracture incidence declined toward, but did not attain, baseline risk. Increased risks were particularly marked in the young. The increase in fracture risk was more marked following low-energy vertebral fracture than in the case of high-eneergy trauma. We conclude that the high incidence of new fractures within a year of hospitalization for vertebral fractures, irrespective of the degree of trauma involved, indicates that such patients should be preferentially targeted for treatment. It is speculated that short courses of treatment at the time of first vertebral fracture could provide important therapeutic dividends.