Fragility Fractures: Introduction — The Sports Medicine Review

Many tools have been developed to help assess risk of fractures.  FRAX was developed in 2008 by the World Health Organization to calculate the 10-year probability of hip fracture and 10 year risk of a major osteoporotic fracture, which includes vertebral, hip, forearm or proximal humerus fracture.  This was designed for adults over the age of 50 (8). FRAX takes into account femoral neck BMD along with clinical risk factors including age, gender, low BMI, prior osteoporotic fracture, chronic oral glucocorticoid use, rheumatoid arthritis, parental history of hip fracture, current smoking, greater than 3 drinks per day and secondary causes of osteoporosis.  FRAX underestimates fracture risk in patients with recent fractures, multiple osteoporosis-related fractures, and those at increased risk for falling (2). It is readily available online ().  

QFracture was developed in the UK in 2009 and calculates 10 year hip and major fracture risk without BMD testing.  It is applicable to people aged 30-85 and also includes clinical risk factors, similar to FRAX. The clinical risk factors included in the QFracture algorithm in men and women are: age, sex, BMI, smoking, alcohol intake, glucocorticoids, asthma, cardiovascular disease, history of falls, chronic liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes and tricyclic antidepressants. Additional factors used in women only are: hormone replacement therapy, parental history of hip fracture, menopausal symptoms, gastrointestinal malabsorption and other endocrine disorders.  The algorithm was undergone updates with the most recent in 2016 and is readily available online ().  

The World Health Organization recommends considering BMD testing for adults suffering a fracture that are aged 50 or greater.  Despite compelling evidence that treatment of patients with fragility fractures can reduce the risk of future fractures by up to 50%, the majority of patients are not effectively treated to prevent a secondary fracture.  Due to this, many liaison programs and initiatives have been started including Own the Bone (OTB), AAOS’ Hip Fracture Clinical Practice Guideline, AAOS’ Appropriate Use Criteria, Performance Measures quality documents and IGFS’s Critical Care Pathways.  Many hospitals have also included a follow up DXA scan as part of quality measures.

Many methods have been explored in attempts to prevent secondary fractures.  Some of the programs have been staff based, some IT-based and some are a combination.  The most successful focus on a multi-disciplinary liaison service (3). A multi-disciplinary team usually involves clinicians and clinical nurse specialists and most have a goal of communicating with the patient while they are admitted with a fracture.  Capture the Fracture () was started by the International Osteoporosis Foundation to “facilitate the implementation of coordinated, mmulti-disciplinary models of care for secondary fracture prevention.”   This program provides a guide for secondary fracture prevention, a global map with a quality grading scheme to document fragility fractures.  

Another similar program that is gaining popularity is the Own the Bone (OTB) () program.  After a successful pilot program involving 14 enrollment sites, OTB was designated by the AOA as a national quality improvement project in 2009 (9). OTB was a quality improvement initiative, which included an online, web-based registry of de- identified patient history and fracture data that encouraged orthopedic surgeons to include bone health education and treatment as a distinct part of comprehensive fracture care. As a secondary benefit, the OTB registry has evolved into a large and robust dataset, which thoroughly characterizes fragility fractures presenting for inpatient care in the USA. This data enables benchmarking of institutions involved in the OTB program to help define best practices and to identify those factors and practices associated with suboptimal outcomes.  After institutional enrollment in the OTB program, with its minimal annual fee, access is provided to the secure online registry. Information regarding de-identified patient demographics, presenting fracture and previous fractures, medical comorbidities, and patient risk factors as well as prior BMD testing is obtained for registry entry. Health professional training occurs through national and regional meetings as well as online webinars, newsletters, site submitted Best Practice Materials, health professional calls, and online enrolled site forums. Patient education can be provided through face-to-face encounters between patients and members of the bone health care team as well as through online resources and educational materials on the OTB web site. 

This content was originally published here.

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