hip fracture

71% of Hip Fracture Patients Not Told They Have Osteoporosis

More than seven in 10 older adults who suffer hip fractures aren’t told they have the bone-weakening disease osteoporosis, despite the fact that hip fractures nearly always signify the presence of this potentially debilitating condition. That is the finding of research done in May 2016 by physicians atNorthwell Health in Great Neck on Long Island, NY.

A release from Northwell notes that geriatric fellow Mia Barnett, MD led a telephone survey of 42 hip fracture patients ages 65 and older that showed a startling level of misinformation and mismanagement surrounding osteoporosis among both clinicians and patients. A majority (57%) of patients reported their hospital physicians had not suggested osteoporosis medication after their hip fracture, and 25% said they would reject taking such prescribed drugs.

Dr. Barnett’s research, in which she collaborated with senior author Gisele Wolf-Klein, MD, director of geriatric education for Northwell Health, and co-investigator Stuart Weinerman, MD, an endocrinologist at Northwell Health, is was presented at The American Geriatrics Society’s 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting in Long Beach, CA, from May 19th to 21st 2016.

The release quotes Dr. Wolf-Klein as saying, “You can die after a hip fracture, and you’re at great risk of prolonged complications. You can also be left as an invalid, a fear of many older adults. When we think about how preventable hip fractures are, the fact that most patients aren’t told or understand they have osteoporosis – a disease that can be treated – is an enormous problem.”

Meaning “porous bone,” osteoporosis affects more than 10 million people in the United States, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. But while a quarter-million Americans sustain a hip fracture each year, the estimated treatment rate for osteoporosis after a hip fracture – a fracture nearly always indicating osteoporosis in older adults – ranges from only 2% to 25%.

All post-hip fracture patients surveyed by Dr. Barnett and her colleagues (average age 86; 86% female; 69% white) had been discharged one year prior from two Northwell Health hospitals. “These results are in line with national treatment rates for osteoporosis after hip fractures,” Dr. Barnett said. In addition, she said, “To be at the forefront in treating osteoporosis after hip fractures, two Northwell Health hospitals have implemented specific services designed to engage multidisciplinary clinical teams to help improve treatment rates for osteoporosis.”

Only 12 %of patients reported having a family history of osteoporosis, which will cause about 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over age 50 to break a bone. But “self-reported family history from these patients is notoriously unreliable, and when it is there, they still can get it wrong,” Dr. Weinerman explained. “We do know that if a mother had a hip fracture, that doubles her daughter’s risk of future hip fracture.”