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Characteristics and outcomes of hospitalised patients with vertebral fragility fractures: a systematic review

10 May 2017

AbstractBackgroundthe complex management for patients presenting to hospital with vertebral fragility fractures provides justification for the development of specific services for them. A systematic review was undertaken to determine the incidence of hospital admission, patient characteristics and health outcomes of vertebral fragility fracture patients to inform the development of such a service.Methodsnon-randomised studies of vertebral fragility fracture in hospital were included. Searches were conducted using electronic databases and citation searching of the included papers.Resultsa total of 19 studies were included. The incidence of hospital admission varied from 2.8 to 19.3 per 10,000/year. The average patient age was 81 years, the majority having presented with a fall. A diagnosis of osteoporosis or previous fragility fracture was reported in around one-third of patients. Most patients (75% men and 78% women) had five or more co-pathologies. Most patients were managed non-operatively with a median hospital length of stay of 10 days. One-third of patients were started on osteoporosis treatment. Inpatient and 1-year mortality was between 0.9 and 3.5%, and 20 and 27%, respectively, between 34 and 50% were discharged from hospital to a care facility. Many patients were more dependent with activities of daily living on discharge compared to their pre-admission level. Older age and increasing comorbidities was associated with longer hospital stay and higher mortality.Conclusionthese findings indicate that specific hospital services for patients with vertebral fragility fractures should take into consideration local hospitalisation rates for the condition, and should be multifaceted—providing access to diagnostic, therapeutic, surgical and rehabilitation interventions.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Age and Ageing