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Reassessment Intervals for Transition From Low to High Fracture Risk Among Adults Older Than 50 Years

Leslie WD1Morin SN2Lix LM3Martineau P4,5Bryanton M4McCloskey EV6Johansson H6,7Harvey NC8,9Kanis JA6,7.

JAMA Netw Open. 2020 Jan 3;3(1):e1918954. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.18954.





Fracture risk scores are used to identify individuals at high risk of major osteoporotic fracture or hip fracture for antiosteoporosis treatment. For those not meeting treatment thresholds at baseline, the optimal interval for reassessing fracture risk is uncertain.


To examine reassessment intervals for transition from low to high fracture risk under guidelines-defined treatment thresholds.


This retrospective cohort study included persons aged 50 years or older with fracture risk below treatment thresholds at baseline who had fracture risk reassessed at least 1 year later. Data were obtained from a population-based bone mineral density registry (baseline assessment during 1996-2015; reassessment to 2016) in the Province of Manitoba, Canada. Primary analysis was performed from May to June 2019. Analysis for the revision was performed in October 2019.


The primary outcome was time to transition from low (below the treatment threshold) to high fracture risk (treatment-qualifying risk score using osteoporosis clinical practice guidelines strategies for Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom).


The study population consisted of 10 564 individuals (94.1% women; mean [SD] age at baseline, 63.2 [8.2] years). At the time of reassessment (a mean [SD] interval of 5.2 [2.9] years between initial and subsequent fracture risk assessment), 690 (6.6%) had reached the fixed major osteoporotic fracture treatment threshold of 20%, 1546 (16.2%) had reached the fixed hip treatment threshold of 3%, and 932 (9.4%) had reached the age-dependent major osteoporotic fracture treatment threshold. Among those below 25% of the treatment threshold at baseline for each guideline, few (0%-3.0%) reached guidelines-defined high fracture risk at follow-up. In contrast, among those at the upper end of the scale for each guideline (75%-99% of the treatment threshold at baseline), 30.6% to 74.4% reached guidelines-defined high fracture risk. An increased number of clinical risk factors was associated with increased likelihood of reaching guidelines-defined high fracture risk (range for 3 guidelines, 17.1%-28.2%) compared with unchanged or decreased clinical risk factors (range for 3 guidelines, 3.3%-12.8%) (P < .001). Estimated time for 10% of the population to reach treatment-qualifying high fracture risk ranged from fewer than 3 years to more than 15 years.


The findings suggest that baseline fracture risk (as a fraction of the treatment threshold) and change in clinical risk factors can identify individuals with low and high probability of guidelines-defined high fracture risk during follow-up, thereby potentially helping to inform the reassessment interval.