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Hip fracture linked to higher mortality risk

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Older people who suffer a hip fracture are over 3.5 times more likely to die within 12 months compared to non-injured individuals.

That’s according to a recent Australian study, which also found that mortality in hip fracture patients is higher in men than in women.

Hip fractures are cracks or breaks in the top of the thigh bone (femur) close to the hip joint. According to the NHS, they are usually caused by a fall or an injury to the side of the hip.

Falls are common in older people, who may have reduced vision or mobility and balance problems. Hip fractures are more common in women, who are more susceptible to osteoporosis.

The new study, published in Archives of Osteoporosis, looked at the 12-month mortality of older people presenting to hospitals in Australia with hip fracture.

A total of 9,748 individuals aged 65 years and older who had a hospital admission with a primary diagnosis of hip fracture in 2009 were matched 1:1 on age, sex, and postcode of residence with a cohort of non-injured individuals selected from the electoral roll.

Analysis of the data showed that hip fracture sufferers experienced significantly worse survival at 12 months post-fracture. Specifically:

– Individuals with hip fracture were over 3.5 times more likely to die within 12 months compared to their non-injured counterparts.

– Hip fracture was likely to be a contributory factor in 72% of deaths within 12 months after the initial hospital admission.

– Excess mortality risk at 12 months was higher in males than in females, and in the 65-74-year age group compared to older age groups.

With an ageing population, the burden of hip fractures is expected to increase in the coming decades.

Co-author of the study, Dr Reidar P. Lystad from the Australian Institute of Health Innovation at Macquarie University, said: “Our findings suggest that, with the hip fracture trauma itself a main predictor of excess mortality, efforts may best be directed at primary and secondary prevention of the fracture itself.”