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Racial Disparities Exist in Outcomes After Major Fragility Fractures

Wright NC1Chen L1Saag KG2Brown CJ3,4Shikany JM5Curtis JR2.

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2020 Apr 26. doi: 10.1111/jgs.16455. [Epub ahead of print]




Fractures associated with postmenopausal osteoporosis (PMO) are associated with pain, disability, and increased mortality. A recent, nationwide evaluation of racial difference in outcomes after fracture has not been performed.


To determine if 1-year death, debility, and destitution rates differ by race.


Observational cohort study.


US Medicare data from 2010 to 2016.


Non-Hispanic black and white women with PMO who have sustained a fragility fracture of interest: hip, pelvis, femur, radius, ulna, humerus, and clinical vertebral.


Outcomes included 1-year: (1) mortality, identified by date of death in Medicare vital status information, (2) debility, identified as new placement in long-term nursing facilities, and (3) destitution, identified as becoming newly eligible for Medicaid.


Among black and white women with PMO (n = 4,523,112), we identified 399,000 (8.8%) women who sustained a major fragility fracture. Black women had a higher prevalence of femur (9.0% vs 3.9%; P < .001) and hip (30.7% vs 28.0%; P < .001) fractures and lower prevalence of radius/ulna (14.7% vs 17.0%; P < .001) and clinical vertebral fractures (28.8% vs 33.5%; P < .001) compared with white women. We observed racial differences in the incidence of 1-year outcomes after fracture. After adjusting for age, black women had significantly higher risk of mortality 1 year after femur, hip, humerus, and radius/ulna fractures; significantly higher risk of debility 1 year after femur and hip fractures; and significantly higher risk of destitution for all fractures types.


In a sample of Medicare data from 2010 to 2016, black women with PMO had significantly higher rates of mortality, debility, and destitution after fracture than white women. These findings are a first step toward understanding and reducing disparities in PMO management, fracture prevention, and clinical outcomes after fracture.