Our study describes the clinical characteristics of patients with fragility fractures. It also shows there is a low knowledge about osteoporosis and its relation to fractures, in addition to the very poor adherence to medical advice and treatment.
Osteoporosis is a systemic skeletal disease associated with an increased risk of fragility fractures and is a public health problem worldwide due to population aging. Early osteoporosis diagnosis and treatment is very important for reducing the incidence of fragility fractures and the resulting complications. Our study describes the clinical characteristics of patients with fragility fractures and their risk factors, evaluates the level of knowledge that patients have about osteoporosis, and follows-up on each case to establish if, after the fracture, a densitometric diagnosis was made and the patient received specific treatment in his outpatient follow-up through his health insurance plan.
A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out in a university hospital in Bogotá, Colombia. The data was collected by means of a questionnaire, administered to all patients admitted by the orthopedic emergency department with a diagnosis of fragility fracture. After discharge, a telephone follow-up was done every 3 months for 1 year, and patients were asked if they had already had the dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan and if they had begun osteoporosis treatment.
A total of 111 patients with an average age of 74.4 years (± 11.3 years), of which 84 (75.6%) were women, all consulted for osteoporotic fracture at the orthopedic emergency department of the hospital. Hip fracture was the most frequent (51.4%), followed by vertebral (23.4%), wrist (22.5%), and humerus (4.5%) fracture. A total of 49.5% (n = 55) of the patients did not know what osteoporosis is; 58.6% (n = 65) did not know that fracture is the main complication of this disease, and 62.2% (n = 69) did not associate fractures with osteoporosis. All patients were educated about osteoporosis and the importance of diagnosing and treating it. Patients were given a medical order to have a DXA scan upon discharge; however, only 24.3% (n = 27) had the DXA scan in the first year of the fracture. A total of 33.3% (n = 37) received calcium plus vitamin D, and only 9.9% (n = 11) received osteoporosis treatment (7 bisphosphonate patients and 4 denosumab). No patient received osteoformative therapy.
Our study shows that Colombian patients have little knowledge about osteoporosis and its relationship with fragility fractures. It also shows that densitometries are not done and, what is worse, patients with a diagnosis of fracture have limited access to treatment after discharge.
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The work was approved by the Clinical and Ethical Research Committee of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia.
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Fernández-Ávila, D.G., Rincón-Riaño, D.N., Pinzón, D.F. et al. Low rate of densitometric diagnosis and treatment in patients with severe osteoporosis in Colombia. Arch Osteoporos 14, 95 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11657-019-0646-6
- Osteoporosis fracture
- Fragility fractures