, Volume 471, Issue 9, pp 2846-2851
Date: 05 Mar 2013

Is There a Difference in Timing and Cause of Death After Fractures in the Elderly?

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Patients who sustain osteoporotic fractures have excessive mortality compared to age-matched controls, which is most pronounced within the first 6 months postfracture. However, the timing and cause of death in the first 3 months after sustaining a fracture are unclear.


We therefore evaluated and compared the timing and cause of death in patients who sustained a pelvic, proximal femoral, spinal, or proximal humeral fracture 30 and 90 days after fracture.


From medical records, we recorded age at time of fracture, sex, fracture site, comorbidities, date of death, and cause of death of 1630 patients with 1630 fractures admitted to our department between 2001 and 2007. The median age at the time of fracture was 83 years and 89% of the patients were women.


Fifty-eight patients died within 30 days after fracture (3.6%), and 122 patients (7.5%) died within 90 days after fracture. Cardiovascular causes of death were most frequent in all fracture groups. Patients who suffered from spinal fractures died earlier within 30 days after fracture than patients who suffered from other types of fractures.


This shows the severity and impact of a spinal injury compared to other typical fragility fractures.

Level of Evidence

Level II, prognostic study. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Each author certifies that he or she, or a member of his or her immediate family, has no funding or commercial associations (eg, consultancies, stock ownership, equity interest, patent/licensing arrangements, etc) that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article.
All ICMJE Conflict of Interest Forms for authors and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research editors and board members are on file with the publication and can be viewed on request.
Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research neither advocates nor endorses the use of any treatment, drug, or device. Readers are encouraged to always seek additional information, including FDA approval status, of any drug or device before clinical use.
Each author certifies that his or her institution approved the human protocol for this investigation, that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research, and that informed consent for participation in the study was obtained.
This work was performed at the Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.