Background: Non-hip non-vertebral fractures (NHNV) constitute the majority of osteoporotic fractures but few studies have examined the association between these fractures, co-morbidity and mortality.

Objective: To examine the relationship between individual non-hip non-vertebral fractures, co-morbidities and mortality.

Methods: Prospective population-based cohort of 267,043 subjects (45 and Up Study, Australia) had baseline questionnaires linked to hospital administrative and all-cause mortality data from 2006 - 2013. Associations between fracture and mortality examined using multivariate, time dependent Cox models, adjusted for age, prior fracture, body mass index, smoking and co-morbidities (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, thrombosis and cancer) and survival function curves. Population attributable fraction calculated for each level of risk exposure.

Results: During 1,490,651 person-years, women and men experienced 7,571 and 4,571 fractures and 7,064 deaths and 11,078 deaths, respectively. In addition to hip and vertebral fractures, pelvis, humerus, clavicle, rib, proximal tibia/fibula, elbow and distal forearm fractures in both sexes, and ankle fractures in men, were associated with increased multivariable adjusted mortality hazard ratios ranging from 1.3 to 3.4. Co-morbidity independently added to mortality such that a woman with a humeral fracture and one co-morbidity had a similarly reduced 5 year survival to that of a woman with a hip fracture and no co-morbidities. Population mortality attributable to any fracture without co-morbidity was 9.2% in women and 5.3% in men.

Conclusion: All proximal non-hip, non-vertebral fractures in women and men were associated with increased mortality risk. Co-existent co-morbidities independently further increased mortality. Population attributable risk for mortality for fracture was similar to cardiovascular disease and diabetes, highlighting their importance and potential benefit for early intervention and treatment.


epidemiology, aging, practice/ policy-related issues



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