, Volume 16, Issue 9, pp 1079-1085
Date: 07 Dec 2004

Improving osteoporosis management in patients with fractures

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A history of fracture is an independent risk factor for future fractures, but patients who have sustained a fracture are rarely evaluated for osteoporosis (OP). The objective of this study was to determine if a simple intervention in a general orthopedic clinic would lead to more fracture patients receiving evaluation and treatment for OP. Patients with a history of fracture visiting a weekly orthopedic clinic during a 6-month intervention period were educated about OP, and a bone mineral density (BMD) test was offered. The number of BMD tests performed and other OP-specific actions taken as a result of the intervention were compared with a 6-month pre-intervention period. The prevalence of OP in those who underwent BMD testing was examined. In the pre-intervention period, only 12.7% (16 of 126) had a BMD test as compared with 62.5% of the 136 intervention-period subjects (odds ratio [OR] 11.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 6.1, 21.4). Based on BMD test results, 11.9% of the pre-intervention patients, and 41.9% of the intervention patients received OP-specific recommendations (OR 5.3, 95% CI 2.8, 10.1). The intervention led to more patients being treated for low bone mass (9.5% vs 23.5%); OR 2.9, 95% CI 1.4, 5.9. Low bone mass was common among all types of fracture patients: 20% had osteoporosis and 41%, osteopenia. BMD testing in patients with fractures should identify those at risk for future fractures, leading to appropriate treatment.