Study: Patient fall history can help predict future bone fractures

A patient's history of falls can be helpful in predicting the risk of future bone fractures independent of other clinical concerns such as bone density, according to a study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

For the study, researchers examined the outcomes of three cohorts from previous studies comprised of 4,365 men from United States, 1,823 men from Sweden and 1,669 men from Hong Kong. Participants' average age ranged from 72.4 to 75.4 years. Researchers enrolled participants between 2000 and 2004, and followed them for an average 8.7 to 10.8 years.

After adjusting the analysis of outcomes to account for results from the Fracture Risk Assessment Tool and bone density assessments, previous falls were still associated with a 63 to 71 percent increased risk of a new fracture.

"Whilst the predictive value of falls for future fracture is well-established, these new findings … inform approaches to clinical fracture risk assessment, demonstrating that the fracture risk associated with prior falls is relevant over and above the risk identified by the current global standard approach of FRAX and bone mineral density," said Nicholas Harvey, PhD, a professor with the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom.

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