Hip Fracture Prevention Trial Using Hip Protectors in Japanese Nursing Homes
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A method to protect the hips during falls could effectively reduce the incidence of hip fractures. We report the results of the first hip protector trial in Japan, performed between July 1996, and September 1999. One hundred and sixty-four elderly female residents of nursing homes, with Activities of Daily Living above the wheelchair level, agreed to participate in this study. Among them, 88 were randomly selected to wear a hip protector and 76 controls did not. All falls and resulting injuries were recorded daily. In anthropometric measurements and ultrasonic bone evaluation, no significant differences were found between the two groups, except in height. During an average of 377 days, the wearers and the non-wearers fell a total of 131 and 90 times, respectively. Among the wearers, there were two non-hip fractures and one hip fracture, so the annual hip fracture rate was calculated at 1.2%, against 8 hip fractures among the non-wearers, or 9.7% per year. The hip fracture rate was significantly lower among the wearers than non-wearers, while the annual number of falls per subject and the distribution of fallers remained the same. According to Cox’s proportional hazard regression analysis, the effect of the hip protector on hip fracture prevention was independent of anthropometric data, ultrasonic bone assessment values or number of falls. Moreover, even after limiting the subjects to fallers only, the annual hip fracture rate in non-wearers was higher than in wearers (19.8% vs 2.0%) and the annual hip fracture rate per fall in wearers was lower than that in non-wearers (0.8% vs 8.2%). It was thus concluded that the hip protector is a beneficial device for the prevention of hip fractures.
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