Hip Fracture Risks Linger After Recovery

Risk of Death 5-8 Times Higher in First 3 Months After Hip Fracture; Elevated Risk Persists for Years

By Jennifer Warner
WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

March 15, 2010 -- The risks associated with hip fractures may linger long after the initial recovery period is over, especially for men.

A new report shows the risk of death is five to eight times higher in the first three months after hip fracture for older adults. This risk diminishes substantially during the first two years after hip fracture in men and women.

But researchers say it does not return to normal, even after 10 years of follow-up, and men appear to be at greater risk.

"At any given age, excess mortality after hip fracture is higher in men than in women," write researcher Patrick Haentjens, MD, PhD, of the Center for Outcomes Research, Laboratory for Experimental Surgery at Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel, in Brussels, Belgium, and colleagues in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers say many studies have highlighted an immediate increased risk of death after hip fracture, but until now it wasn't clear whether this extra risk persisted over the long term.

Men Suffer More After Hip Fracture?

In their report, researchers analyzed 22 studies including 578,436 women with hip fractures and 17 studies that involved 154,276 men with hip fractures. All study participants were 50 years old or older.

The results showed the average risk of death from any cause in the first three months after hip fracture was 5.75 times higher in women and eight times higher in men than with other adults in their age group.

These risks decreased dramatically two years after hip fracture but did not return to rates seen among a comparison group of older adults without hip fractures.

Researchers found the additional risks associated with hip fracture increased with age and were generally higher among men than women.

For example, researchers estimate that a white woman who has a hip fracture at age 80 has an 8%, 18%, and 22% higher risk of death 1, 5, and 10 years after her injury, respectively, than another white woman of the same age without a hip fracture.

For a white man, the additional risk of death associated with a hip fracture at age 80 was 18%, 26% and 20% higher 1, 5, and 10 years after the injury.

Researchers say the reasons behind this additional long-term risk associated with hip fracture merit further study. Some studies suggest men might be at greater risk for postoperative complications after hip surgery, such as infection, and others suggest men with hip fractures may already have other health problems at the time of hip fracture.


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Haentjens, P. Annals of Internal Medicine, March, 16, 2010; vol 152: pp 380-390.
News release, American College of Physicians.
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