Frailty and risk of subsequent fracture among older adults presenting to hospital with a minimal trauma fracture
Summary: We investigated frailty and refracture risk among older adults with a minimal trauma fracture. After adjusting for age, sex, and site of initial fracture, increasing frailty was associated with an increased risk subsequent fracture. These results indicate the need to routinely screen for frailty following an initial fracture among older adults. Introduction: Minimal trauma fractures are common among older adults, and frailty increases risk of an initial minimal trauma fracture. This study was undertaken to estimate the risk of subsequent fracture based on frailty status at the time of an initial fracture. Methods: The study population was older adults presenting to hospital, aged 60 years or more, with a minimal trauma fracture. Frailty was estimated using a cumulative deficit approach. The risk of subsequent fracture based on increasing cumulative frailty deficit item group, adjusted for sex, age, and site of initial fracture, was estimated using Cox’s proportional hazard model. Results: Between January 2014 and December 2020, 12,115 older adults presented to hospital (8371 women [69%]), with an initial minimal trauma fracture. The average age was 80 years (SD 9.5). Subsequent fractures identified during the follow-up period occurred in 1137 (9.4%) of study participants. The incidence of subsequent fracture ranged from 25.0 per 1000 older adults (95% confidence interval (CI) 22.4 to 27.8) among the lowest frailty deficit group (1 deficit item) to 31.8 per 1000 (95% CI 28.0 to 35.8) among the highest frailty deficit group (4 to 12 deficit items). After adjusting for age, sex, and site of initial fracture, an increasing number of frailty deficit items was associated with increased risk subsequent fracture (p-value for trend = 0.008). Conclusion: Our results indicate that following an initial minimal trauma fracture, frailty independently increases the risk of a subsequent fracture. Therefore, it is important at the time of an initial fracture that older women and men are screened for the presence of frailty, and models of care are implemented to reduce the risk of subsequent fracture among this vulnerable group of older adults.
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