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Arh Hig Rada Toksikol. 2008 Mar;59(1):53-8. doi: 10.2478/10004-1254-59-2008-1850.

Non-hip peripheral osteoporotic fractures: epidemiology and significance.

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  • 1University Hospital Centre Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia.


Fractures are the most serious consequence of osteoporosis. Non-vertebral and non-hip fractures are seldom recognised as important, even though they account for the majority of all fractures. The most prevalent localisations are distal radius, proximal humerus, ribs, clavicle, and the pelvis. According to the results from large phase III clinical trials for placebo groups, their incidence ranges from 4.9 % to 12.0 %. Hospital morbidity data in Croatia in 2006 show that peripheral non-hip fractures ranked among the leading fifteen injuries, accounting for 23.7 % of all injuries in patients aged 60 years and above. Risk factors for non-hip and non-vertebral fractures are similar to other osteoporotic fractures, and the main are low bone mineral density and earlier fractures. Quality of life is considerably affected by these fractures, and medical costs are very high, soaring as high as 36.9% of all national medical costs in the USA. Non-vertebral non-hip fractures need more attention, which was also recognised by the European regulatory bodies that approve use of anti-osteoporotic drugs.

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