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Acta Orthop. 2012 Dec;83(6):653-60. doi: 10.3109/17453674.2012.747054. Epub 2012 Nov 9.

Patient-related risk factors for fracture-healing complications in the United Kingdom General Practice Research Database.

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Amgen Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, USA.



A variety of risk factors have been hypothesized to contribute to the development of fracture-healing complications; however, population-based estimates of the strength of these risk factors are limited. In this case-control study, we evaluated patient-related risk factors for fracture-healing complications.


Using the United Kingdom General Practice Research Database, we identified patients with a fracture-healing complication (delayed union, nonunion, or malunion) between 1988 and 2008. 4 controls (i.e. patients with normal healing) were matched to each case on general practice, fracture site, fracture date, and length of history in the database. We used conditional logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (ORs) of various risk factors, including demographics, comorbidities, and medication use.


Diabetes and use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) within 12 months before the initial fracture were associated with a higher odds of a fracture-healing complication (type-I diabetes: adjusted OR = 2.3, 95% CI: 1.3-3.8; type-II diabetes: adjusted OR = 2.3, CI: 1.4-3.7; NSAIDs: adjusted OR = 2.6, CI: 2.1-3.2). Patients who had a motor vehicle accident recorded within 1 month before their initial fracture were also at increased odds of a fracture-healing complication (adjusted OR = 2.6, CI: 1.2-5.4).


Diabetes, NSAID use, and a recent motor vehicle accident were most consistently associated with an increased risk of a fracture-healing complication, regardless of fracture site or specific fracture-healing complication. This analysis suggests that certain patient-related characteristics influence the development of fracture-healing complications in general, even though specific healing complications may differ by their mechanism.

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