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Arm Fractures Indicate Greater Risk of Hip Fractures in Elderly Patients
Date:3/2/2009

>neurological disorders
  • loss of an ability to maintain balance
  • decreased reaction time
  • Because there can be a number of underlying factors, Dr. Clinton says a multi-disciplinary approach is needed to effectively assess the patient's future risk.

    "One of the first steps a patient should take following a fall is to talk with their orthopaedist and other physicians to determine the cause," he notes. "Once the cause is more clearly understood, the proper steps can be taken to decrease a patient's risk of having another fall and potentially future fractures."

    Morbidity statistics for hip fracture patients are high. Dr. Clinton notes past studies that indicate 25 percent of patients who experience hip fractures have a survival rate of less than one year, while another 25 percent will lose some level of their independence and potentially need to move to an assisted living facility. As the world's population ages, the potential social and economic costs are huge, he says.

    Although this study examined fractures in an elderly female population, Dr. Clinton notes that longer life spans in the United States and elsewhere make male patients vulnerable, as well.

    "When we look at the numbers, we can see that there is a huge increase in the population that maybe at risk for these types of fragility fractures, and if we look only at the costs associated with treating hip fractures, we are talking about hundreds of millions, or probably billions, of dollars in health care costs," Dr. Clinton adds. "Much of those costs theoretically could be decreased if we knew when and how to intervene."

    Although the exact relationship between arm and hip fractures is not entirely understood, Dr. Clinton says "there is evidence to support that both fractures stem from similar reactions to a fall. When patients age their reflexes slow down and they
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    SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
    Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
    All rights reserved

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