, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 17-22

Evaluation and management of osteoporosis following hospitalization for low-impact fracture

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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the pattern of osteoporosis evaluation and management in postmenopausal women who present with low-impact (minimal trauma) fracture.

DESIGN: Retrospective chart review of patients admitted with a fracture in the absence of trauma or bone disease. Telephone follow-up survey was conducted at 12 months after discharge to collect information on physician visits, pharmacological therapies for osteoporosis, functional status, and subsequent fractures.

PATIENTS/PARTICIPANTS: Postmenopausal women admitted to a hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota between June 1996 and December 1997 for low-impact fractures were identified. Low-impact fracture was defined as a fracture occurring spontaneously or from a fall no greater than standing height. Retrospective review of 301 patient medical records was conducted to obtain data on pre-admission risk factors for osteoporosis and/or fracture, and osteoporosis-related evaluation and management during the course of hospitalization. Follow-up 1 year after the incident fracture was obtained on 227 patients.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Two hundred twenty-seven women were included in the study. Osteoporosis was documented in the medical record in 26% (59/227) of the patients at hospital discharge. Within 12 months of hospital discharge, 9.6% (22/227) had a bone mineral density test, and 26.4% (60/227) were prescribed osteoporosis treatment. Of those who were prescribed osteoporosis treatment, 86.6% (52/60) remained on therapy for 1 year. Nineteen women suffered an additional fracture. Compared to women without a prior fracture, women with at least 1 fracture prior to admission were more likely to have osteoporosis diagnosed and to receive osteoporosis-related medications.

CONCLUSION: Despite guidelines that recommend osteoporosis evaluation in adults experiencing a low-trauma fracture, we report that postmenopausal women hospitalized for low-impact fracture were not sufficiently evaluated or treated for osteoporosis during or after their hospital stay. There are substantial opportunities for improvement of care in this high-risk population to prevent subsequent fractures.

Portions of these study results were presented in a poster format at the National Osteoporosis Foundation/International Osteoporosis Foundation meeting, June 2001, Chicago, Ill.
Dr. Simonelli has received research funds and is a consultant to Merck and Company, Eli Lilly, Procter and Gamble, and Novartis. Merck and Company provided statistical support and assistance in manuscript preparation but did not participate in study design or collection of data.