Mortality Risk High After Vertebral Fracture in Elderly

Higher risk after vertebral fracture applies to wide range of backgrounds

FRIDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly patients of both genders and all ages and ethnicities have a high risk of mortality after a vertebral fracture, researchers report in the July issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Edmund Lau, from Exponent Inc. in Menlo Park, Calif., and colleagues retrospectively examined Medicare claims data from 97,142 individuals with a new diagnosis of vertebral compression fracture from 1997-2004 with a 5:1 control-case ratio.

The researchers found that survival rates after fracture were 53.9 percent at three years, 30.9 percent at five years and 10.5 percent at seven years, which were half that of the controls. The mortality risk after fracture was higher for men, and the difference in mortality rates between those with fractures and controls was highest for those who were youngest at the time of fracture and decreased with increasing age at fracture.

"This study establishes the mortality risk associated with vertebral fractures for elderly patients of all ages and ethnicities and both sexes in the Medicare population; however, it does not imply a causal relationship," Lau and colleagues conclude. "The difference in mortality between patients with a fracture and controls is higher than previously reported, even after controlling for comorbidities."

At least one study author disclosed financial ties to Kyphon, Inc.

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