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Bone Joint J. 2014 Mar;96-B(3):366-72. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.96B3.33316.

The spectrum of fractures in the elderly.

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Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Little France, Edinburgh EH16 4SU, UK.


Fractures in patients aged ≥ 65 years constitute an increasing burden on health and social care and are associated with a high morbidity and mortality. There is little accurate information about the epidemiology of fractures in the elderly. We have analysed prospectively collected data on 4786 in- and out-patients who presented with a fracture over two one-year periods. Analysis shows that there are six patterns of the incidence of fractures in patients aged ≥ 65 years. In males six types of fracture increase in incidence after the age of 65 years and 11 types increase in females aged over 65 years. Five types of fracture decrease in incidence after the age of 65 years. Multiple fractures increase in incidence in both males and females aged ≥ 65 years, as do fractures related to falls. Analysis of the incidence of fractures, together with life expectancy, shows that the probability of males and females aged ≥ 65 years having a fracture during the rest of their life is 18.5% and 52.0%, respectively. The equivalent figures for males and females aged ≥ 80 years are 13.3% and 34.8%, respectively.


Elderly; Epidemiology; Fractures; Fragility fractures; Multiple fractures; Osteoporosis

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