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Ulster Med J. 2012 Sep;81(3):123-6.

Hip fracture in Northern Ireland, 1985-2010. Are age-specific fracture rates still rising?

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  • 1Department of Healthcare of the Elderly, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast BT12 6BA.



The aims of this study were to review and update previous projections of the number of proximal femoral fractures in the Northern Ireland population and to ascertain if the trend of increasing age-specific fracture incidence was continuing.


Data from 1985 to 1997 was obtained from hospital theatre records to ascertain the number of surgical procedures for proximal femoral fracture. Data for the years 2005 and 2010 was obtained from Northern Ireland's Fracture Outcomes Research Database (FORD) and locally held records in one region not then using FORD. Demographic details were obtained from data published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Age-specific fracture rates were calculated for males and females in 5 year age brackets and for populations aged 50+ and 65+. Updated projections for the number of proximal femoral fractures by 2020 were made assuming the continuation of the same age-specific fracture rates observed in 2010.


From 1997 to 2010 the age-specific fracture incidence has fallen or plateaued across most observed age and sex subgroups. Over the period 2010 to 2020, male and female fracture numbers are projected to increase by 23% and 21% respectively which equates to approximately 400 extra proximal femoral fractures.


Over the next decade there will be an increasing burden on Northern Irish healthcare resources attributed to a rise in the number of proximal femoral fractures. The age-specific fracture rates in this population are no longer rising and hence the expected increase in healthcare costs is primarily a consequence of the anticipated changing demographic trends.

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