Hernández, J.L., Olmos, J.M., Alonso, M.A. et al. Osteoporos Int (2006) 17: 464. doi:10.1007/s00198-005-0008-7
Spain lacks detailed data on hip fracture trends despite being the country with the greatest increase in the pensioner-to-provider ratio in Europe. We reproduced a study on hip fracture incidence in a region of northern Spain (Cantabria) carried out 14 years ago to determine whether a secular trend to change is taking place. If such a trend could be found, our objective was to determine whether the effect is solely due to ageing or whether additional variables are involved. We assessed the incidence of hip fracture in patients aged ≥50 years through clinical records from Emergency Units and Orthopedic Surgical Units of all hospitals in the region of Cantabria in 1988 and 2002. A total of 318 new cases of hip fracture were recorded in 1988 and 490 in 2002 (54% increase; p<0.001). No significant changes were noticed following an adjustment for age. Women accounted for the increase in crude hip fracture incidence [246 women and 72 men suffered a hip fracture in 1988 compared to 404 women and 86 men in 2002 (64% increase in women and 19% increase in men; p<0.005 and not significant, respectively)]. The female:male ratio was 3.4 in 1988 versus 4.7 in 2002; following age-adjustment, no significant changes were found (1.8 in 1988 and 1.9 in 2002). The increase in crude hip fracture incidence was greater at cervical (versus trochanteric) sites. Patient residence, time of the year, site of fracture, kind of injury, previous contralateral hip fracture, length of stay, and peri-operative mortality did not differ significantly. In conclusion, a crude hip fracture incidence increase of about 50% in the northern Spanish region of Cantabria has taken place over the last 14 years. This effect does not persist after adjustments have been made for age. The crude rate increase occurred mainly at the expense of women, with a more noticeable rise in cervical fractures as opposed to trochanteric lesions.