Depression after low-energy fracture in older women predicts future falls: a prospective observational study

M. van den Berg*, N.A. Verdijk, G.L. Leusink, C.J. Wijnands van Gent, A.C. Romeijnders, V.J. Pop, J.P. van den Bergh

*Corresponding author for this work

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BACKGROUND: Falls are one of the main causes of fractures in elderly people and after a recent fracture, the risk of another fall is increased, resulting in subsequent fracture. Therefore, risk factors for future falls should be determined. We prospectively investigated the relationship between depression and the incidence of falls in post-menopausal women after a low-energy fracture. METHODS: At baseline, 181 women aged 60 years and older who presented with a recent low-energy fracture were evaluated at the fracture and osteoporosis outpatient clinics of two hospitals. As well as clinical evaluation and bone mineral density tests, the presence of depression (measured using the Edinburgh Depression Scale, EDS, depression cut-off > 11) and risk factors for falling were assessed. During two years of follow-up, the incidence of falls was registered annually by means of detailed questionnaires and interviews. RESULTS: Seventy-nine (44%) of the women sustained at least one fall during follow-up. Of these, 28% (n = 22) suffered from depression at baseline compared to 10% (n = 10) of the 102 women who did not sustain a fall during follow-up (Chi(2) = 8.76, df = 1, p = .003). Multiple logistic regression showed that the presence of depression and co-morbidity at baseline were independently related to falls (OR = 4.13, 95% CI = 1.58-10.80; OR = 2.25, 95% CI = 1.11-4.56, respectively) during follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of depression in women aged 60 years and older with recent low-energy fractures is an important risk factor for future falls. We propose that clinicians treating patients with recent low-energy fractures should anticipate not only on skeletal-related risk factors for fractures, but also on fall-related risk factors including depression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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