Incidence of fractures among patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis
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This study is the first meta-analysis investigating the pooled incidence rates of fractures among patients with RA. Our results demonstrated that this population is at high risk of overall and fragility fractures. Consideration of vertebral imaging and RA-specific risk factor assessment may aid in fracture prevention for this vulnerable group.
This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to estimate the incidence of fractures (overall and fragility) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CENTRAL were searched for cohort studies reporting incidence of fractures among patients with RA. Two reviewers independently assessed all studies for inclusion and extracted data. Pooled analyses of incidence rates and relative risk of fractures were conducted using a random-effects model. Subgroup analyses investigated potential sources of heterogeneity, and predictors of fractures were summarized.
Twenty-five studies were included in total. The pooled incidence rates of overall and fragility fractures were 33.00 (95% CI 18.39–59.21) and 15.31 (95% CI 10.43–22.47) per 1000 person-years, respectively. Patients with RA had a higher risk of overall (RR 1.52, 95% CI 1.07–2.14) and fragility (RR 1.61, 95% CI 1.44–1.79) fractures. Subgroup analyses suggested a higher risk of fragility fractures among female patients (31.03 vs. 23.75 per 1000 person-years). The pooled site-specific incidence rates of vertebral, hip, forearm, and proximal humeral fractures were 7.51 (95% CI 3.27–17.23), 4.33 (95% CI 2.26–8.27), 3.40 (95% CI 2.27–5.10), and 1.86 (95% CI 1.36–2.53) per 1000 person-years, respectively. Clinical vertebral fractures were underestimated compared with radiographic screening (4.29 vs. 42.40 per 1000 person-years). Predictors of fractures included both traditional OP risk factors and RA-specific factors.
Patients with RA are at high risk of incident overall and fragility fractures. Consideration of vertebral imaging for patients with additional OP risk factors, including RA-specific risk factors, may help with early OP diagnosis and timely intervention.
KeywordsFracture incidence Fragility fracture Meta-analysis Osteoporosis Rheumatoid arthritis
This study was supported by the Chinese National Key Technology R&D Program (2017YFC0907601, 2017YFC0907604).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
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