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Heart Failure Associated with Increased Risk of Fractures

Screening for osteoporosis should be considered in heart failure patients

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Heart failure patients are at increased risk of hospitalization for subsequent orthopedic fracture, according to the results of a study published online Oct. 20 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Sean van Diepen, M.D., of the University of Alberta in Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, and colleagues conducted a study of 16,294 patients aged 65 years and older who presented at emergency departments in Alberta, Canada from 1998 through 2001, of whom 2,041 were newly diagnosed with heart failure, while 14,253 were controls with non-heart failure cardiovascular diagnoses. The median age of the heart failure patients was 78 years and 51.9 percent were female, while controls had a median age of 73 years and 53.2 percent were female.

The patients were followed-up for one year, during which time 93 (4.6 percent) of the heart failure cohort and 147 (1 percent) of the control cohort were hospitalized with an orthopedic fracture, the researchers report. Hip fracture was the most common, the report indicates.

"We found a statistically significant association between the diagnosis of heart failure and risk of osteoporotic fracture in a large population-based cohort of elderly patients with cardiovascular diagnoses," the authors write. "However, osteoporosis interventions were prescribed infrequently in these patients. This suggests that increased attention needs to be paid to the screening for and treatment of osteoporosis to reduce fracture risk in those with heart failure."

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