Risk of subsequent fracture and mortality within 5 years after a non-vertebral fracture

K.M. Huntjens*, S. Kosar, T.A. van Geel, P.P. Geusens, P. Willems, A.G.H. Kessels, B. Winkens, P. Brink, S.H. van Helden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


SUMMARY: The absolute 5-year risk of subsequent non-vertebral fractures (NVFs) in 1,921 patients presenting with a NVF was 17.6% and of mortality was 32.3%. These risks were highest within the first year, indicating the need to study which reversible factors can be targeted to immediately minimise subsequent fracture risk and mortality. INTRODUCTION: NVFs are the most frequent clinical fractures in patients presenting at the emergency unit because of a clinical fracture. The aim of the study was to determine the 5-year absolute risk (AR) of subsequent NVF and mortality in patients at the time they present with a NVF. METHODS: Between 1999 and 2001, 1,921 consecutive patients 50+ years from a level 1 trauma centre were included. All NVFs were confirmed on radiograph reports, and mortality was checked in the national obituary database. Available potential risk factors for a subsequent NVF and mortality (age, sex and baseline fracture location: major-hip, pelvis, multiple ribs, proximal tibia/humerus and distal femur; minor-all others) were expressed as hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) using multivariable Cox regression analysis. RESULTS: The AR for a subsequent NVF was 17.6% and was related to age (HR per decade, 1.44; 95%CI, 1.29-1.60). The AR for mortality was 32.3% and was related to age (HR per decade, 2.59; 95%CI, 2.37-2.84), male sex (HR, 1.74; 95%CI, 1.44-2.10), major fracture at baseline (HR, 5.56; 95%CI, 3.48-8.88; not constant over time) and subsequent fracture (HR, 1.65; 95%CI, 1.33-2.05). The highest risks were found within the first year (NVFs, 6.4%; mortality, 12.2%) and were related to age and, in addition, to baseline fracture location for mortality. CONCLUSIONS: Within 5 years after an initial NVF, nearly one in five patients sustained a subsequent NVF and one in three died. One third of subsequent NVFs and mortality occurred within 1 year, indicating the need to study which reversible factors can be targeted to immediately prevent subsequent fractures and mortality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2075-2082
Number of pages8
JournalOsteoporosis International
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • Fracture incidence
  • Fracture risk
  • Mortality
  • Non-vertebral fractures
  • Timing
  • MEN
  • BONE

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