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Arch Osteoporos. 2016;11:8. doi: 10.1007/s11657-016-0259-2. Epub 2016 Jan 18.

Bilateral non-traumatic hip fractures in a heavy smoker COPD patient on inhaled steroids.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Medical Faculty, Maltepe University, Maltepe, Turkey.
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, Medical Faculty, Maltepe University, Maltepe, Turkey.
  • 3Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Medical Faculty, Maltepe University, Maltepe, 34758, Istanbul, Turkey.



Bilateral proximal femoral fractures without trauma are very rare conditions. They have been reported in connection with osteoporosis, renal osteodystrophy, parathyroid disease, tumors, epileptic seizures, electroconvulsive therapy, and postirradiation.


We present a case of a 75-year-old man with bilateral hip fractures. No trauma, neurological, endocrinological disorder, or malignancy was reported in his history. He had a background of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and had been taking inhaled steroids (budesonide) 800 µg per day for 10 years. He was a heavy smoker with a smoking history of 120 packs/year. His complaints had initially started as pain on the left hip and groin and then had progressed to the right in 10 days. Plain x-rays of the pelvis showed left femoral neck and right subtrochanteric femoral fractures. Fixation with proximal femoral nail of the right hip and partial arthroplasty of the left hip was performed on the following day after his admission. Pathological examination revealed osteoporosis in bone samples from both hips.


COPD and osteoporosis have some common risk factors. Smoking, decreased exercise capacity, inhaled, or oral steroid therapy may increase osteoporosis and risk of bone fractures by decreasing bone mineral density. Non-traumatic femoral fractures may occur in patients on long-term inhaled steroid treatment for chronic airway diseases such as asthma and COPD.


History of COPD with corticosteroid use may be used as a diagnostic tool to identify patients having osteoporosis. Preventive measures can be performed by monitoring high-risk patients with bone mineral densitometry, WHO fracture risk assessment tool (FRAX tool), serum calcium, and vitamin D levels to prevent bone fractures. Treating those patients with the lowest effective dose of corticosteroids should be targeted.


Bilateral; COPD; Hip fracture; Inhaled corticosteroids; Osteoporosis

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