Determinants of mortality risk following osteoporotic fractures

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Increased mortality risk is accepted for hip and vertebral fracture. Recent data suggest that other fracture types have also been linked to excess mortality. This article reviews the existing evidence on the pattern and determinants of postfracture mortality.

Recent findings

The pattern of mortality over time following hip and vertebral fractures has recently been clarified. Nonhip nonvertebral fractures at major, and even minor sites in older individuals have also been associated with excess mortality. Studies have revealed the higher excess mortality in men and in younger age groups for all fracture types. Despite the increasing knowledge on the fracture-mortality association, little is known about its cause. The role of co-morbidities is inconsistent across studies. Recent findings suggest low bone mass, bone loss and muscle weakness are linked to both fracture and mortality risk, and thus may play a role in postfracture mortality.

Summary

Nonhip nonvertebral fractures have recently been associated with mortality risk. Larger studies are needed to better understand which specific fractures and factors contribute to fracture-associated mortality risk. The role of bone loss in postfracture mortality needs to be validated in more studies, because of its potential reversibility with antifracture therapies.

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