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Osteoporos Int. 2004 Oct;15(10):834-41. Epub 2004 Mar 25.

Health-related quality of life after osteoporotic fractures.

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Osteoporosis Unit, Department of Endocrinology and Gastroenterology, IMV, University Hospital, Linköping University, 581 85, Linköping, Sweden.



To estimate the impact of osteoporosis fractures on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in postmenopausal women.


To compare the impact on HRQOL of different osteoporotic fractures, 600 consecutive women 55-75 years old with a new fracture (inclusion fracture) were invited by mail. After exclusions by preset criteria (high-energy fractures, ongoing osteoporosis treatment, or unwillingness to participate), 303 women were included, 171 (56%) of whom had a forearm, 37 (12%) proximal humerus, 40 (13%) hip, and 55 (18%) vertebral fracture, respectively, and all were investigated and treated according to the current local consensus program for osteoporosis. In addition, HRQOL was evaluated by the SF-36 questionnaire and compared with local, age-matched reference material. Examinations were performed 82 days (median) after the fracture and 2 years later.


HRQOL was significantly reduced at baseline regarding all SF-36 domains after vertebral fractures and most after hip fractures, but only regarding some domains after forearm and humerus fracture. After 2 years, improvements had occurred after all types of fractures, and after forearm or humerus fracture, HRQOL was completely normalized in all domains. However, 2 years after hip fracture, HRQOL was still below normal regarding physical function, role-physical and social function, while after vertebral fracture, scores were still significantly lower for all domains, physical as well as mental. Patients with one or more previous fractures before the inclusion fracture had lower HRQOL at baseline and after 2 years, compared with those with no previous fracture. Patients with osteoporosis (T-score <-2.5 in hip or spine) had lower HRQOL than those with normal BMD.


Vertebral and hip fractures have a considerably greater and more prolonged impact on HRQOL than forearm and humerus fractures. The number of fractures was inversely correlated to HRQOL. These differences should be taken into account when making priorities in health care programs.

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