Deaths following fracture unchanged in 20 years

10/08/2003 - News

Deaths following fracture unchanged in 20 years

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


There has been no significant decline in the death rate from thigh bone fractures among older people in the last two decades.

The fracture of a thigh bone can have serious consequences for an older person - often signalling the end of independent living. And the death rate after such an event is high. But have modern treatments had any impact on the death rate after such fractures?

Researchers at the University of Oxford, UK, have analysed national statistics on 32,590 people aged 65 or older, admitted to hospital for a thigh fracture between 1968 and 1998. They calculated death rates during the first month and the first year after the fracture. Death rates fell sharply from the late 1960s to the early 1980s but then leveled off.

Death rates rose with increasing age and were higher among men than women and among lower social classes. In the first month after a fracture, death rates are 16 times higher than among the general population for men, and 12 times higher for women. We don't know if the death rate from thigh fracture can be reduced any further or if it has now reached its minimum. The study highlights the need for preventing, diagnosing and treating osteoporosis, given that a thigh fracture can have such serious consequences.


British Medical Journal 4th October 2003

Created on: 10/08/2003
Reviewed on: 10/08/2003

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