Osteoporosis International

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 821–828

Rib fracture as a predictor of future fractures in young and older postmenopausal women: National Osteoporosis Risk Assessment (NORA)

  • S. G. Sajjan
  • E. Barrett-Connor
  • C. A. McHorney
  • P. D. Miller
  • S. S. Sen
  • E. Siris
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00198-011-1757-0

Cite this article as:
Sajjan, S.G., Barrett-Connor, E., McHorney, C.A. et al. Osteoporos Int (2012) 23: 821. doi:10.1007/s00198-011-1757-0



A rib fracture history after age 45 was associated with a 5.4-fold increase in new rib fracture risk and a 2.4-fold increase in risk of any new clinical fracture in 155,031 postmenopausal women. A rib fracture history suggests osteoporosis and should be considered when evaluating patients for interventions to prevent fractures.


Until recently, little attention was paid to rib fracture as an osteoporosis marker. Emerging evidence suggests rib fracture may be an osteoporotic fracture in men and women. We report the 5-year independent association between baseline rib fracture histories and self-reported future fractures by age (decade) in the NORA cohort (155,031 postmenopausal women, 50–99 years).


Participants reported fracture history and responded to follow-up surveys at years 1, 3, or 6. Women with a baseline rib fracture history without other fractures were compared with women with no fracture.


At baseline, 4,758 (3.07%) women reported a rib fracture history without other fractures; 6,300 women reported 6,830 new clinical fractures, including wrist (2,271), rib (1,891), spine (1,136), hip (941), and forearm (591). Adjusted relative risk (ARR) values (95% confidence interval [CI]) for future fractures in women with rib fracture history versus women with no fracture history were 5.4 (4.8–6.1) at the rib, 2.1 (1.7–2.6) at the spine, and 1.4 (1.1–1.7) at the wrist, and not significant for forearm or hip fractures. Future fracture risk was at least doubled in women with a rib fracture history in all ages: ARR (95% CI) 3.4 (2.8–4.0) for ages 50–59, 2.5 (2.1–3.0) for ages 60–69, 2.0 (1.7–2.3) for ages 70–79, and 2.0 (1.6–2.6) for ages >80.


Rib fracture, the second most common clinical fracture in women (after wrist fracture), predicted future fractures of the rib, wrist, and spine at all ages. Women presenting with rib fractures should be evaluated for appropriate management to prevent future fractures.


Aging Fracture Menopause Osteoporosis Population studies 

Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. G. Sajjan
    • 1
  • E. Barrett-Connor
    • 2
    • 7
  • C. A. McHorney
    • 3
  • P. D. Miller
    • 4
  • S. S. Sen
    • 5
  • E. Siris
    • 6
  1. 1.Merck & Co., Inc.West PointUSA
  2. 2.University of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  3. 3.Merck & Co., Inc.North WalesUSA
  4. 4.Colorado Center for Bone ResearchLakewoodUSA
  5. 5.Merck & Co. Inc.Whitehouse StationUSA
  6. 6.Columbia University College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew YorkUSA
  7. 7.Department of Family and Preventive MedicineUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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