INTRODUCTION:
Despite growing rates of fragility fractures, there has been a lack of research investigating the risk and characteristics of recurrent fragility fractures.

METHODS:
The Medicare Standard Analytic Files database was used to identify patients from 2005 to 2009 who were older than 65 years, had a diagnosis of osteoporosis or osteopenia, and sustained a fragility fracture of the proximal humerus, distal radius, hip, ankle, or vertebral column. The incidence and type of recurrent fragility fracture were tracked over a 36-month period.

RESULTS:
A total of 1,059,212 patients had an initial fragility fracture from 2005 to 2009. Of these patients, 5.8% had a subsequent fragility fracture within 1 year for their initial fracture, 8.8% within 2 years, and 11.3% within 3 years. At 3-year follow-up, hip fractures were the most common type of subsequent fracture, regardless of the initial fracture type (6.5%, P < 0.001). Vertebral compression and proximal humerus fractures (13.8% and 13.2%, respectively) were most likely to be associated with a recurrent fragility fracture.

CONCLUSION:
Patients who have any type of fragility fracture have a notable risk of subsequent fractures within 3 years, especially hip fractures. These patients should be evaluated and treated for underlying risks factors, including osteoporosis and/or osteopenia.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:
Retrospective, level III.





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