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Preventing fragility hip fracture in high risk groups: an opportunity missed
  1. E W K Peng,
  2. S Elnikety,
  3. N C Hatrick
  1. Department of Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Brighton, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 MrN C Hatrick
 Department of Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery, Royal Sussex County Hospital, Eastern Road, Brighton, East Sussex BN2 5BE, UK; hatricks{at}


Objective: The national guideline recommends selective case finding as the main strategy by identification of high risk people. This study assessed whether high risk patients were identified before their presentation with fragility fracture.

Methods: A prospective study for 3.5 consecutive months on patients with low energy hip fractures to Brighton and Sussex University Hospital NHS Trusts, which serves a population of 460 000. Data were collected by interview using standardised form, medical record review, and communication with family physicians. Definition of high risk: (1) untreated hypogonadism (2) corticosteroid users (3) disorders with increased bone loss (4) previous fragility fractures.

Results: 98 patients were admitted with hip fracture. Thirty nine (40%) had at least one high risk factor. High risk patients (7 of 39, 18%) were no more likely to receive prophylaxis compared with patients without high risk factor (5 of 59, 8%) (p = 0.21). Previous fragility fracture (23) was the commonest risk factor followed by disorders with increased bone loss (10), premature menopause (10), and corticosteroid users (5). Fifteen patients (15%) had susceptibility to frequent falls and two had maternal history of osteoporosis. The proportion of treated patients were 20% (2 of 10) in premature menopause, 10% (1 of 10) in diseases with secondary osteoporosis, 13% (3 of 23) in previous fragility fracture, and 80% (4 of 5) in corticosteroid users (p = 0.01)

Conclusion: Prevention of hip fracture is still inadequate in high risk patients. Discrepancy seemed to exist in treatment frequency among different high risk groups suggesting that emphasis on prevention of osteoporosis has not been reinforced in all people at risk.

  • osteoporosis
  • fragility fracture
  • prevention

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  • Funding: none.

  • Conflicts of interest: none.