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Elderly Women Who Break a Hip at Increased Risk of Dying Within a Year
Date:9/26/2011

rch. "We also found women are at the highest risk of dying within the first three months after hip fracture, which leads us to hypothesize that hospitalization, surgery and immobility lead to other complications that ultimately result in their death."

Another reason researchers think that hip fractures, and not other underlying health conditions, put women at higher risk of death is their finding involving women aged 80 and older. These women are often sicker to begin with and most of them face the same risk of dying within a year whether they break their hip or not. But when researchers looked at a subset of women who were 80 and older and were also in excellent health, they found that those who fractured a hip were almost three times more likely to die compared to their counterparts who didn't break a hip.

"This finding suggests that it is the hip fracture itself that ultimately leads to death in these women. Even though they start out in excellent health the hip fracture is so devastating that many of them don't recover," said LeBlanc.

The study is part of the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures that has been ongoing for more than two decades. During 1986-88 SOF enrolled nearly 10,000 community-dwelling, ambulatory women ages 65 and older from Baltimore; Minneapolis; Portland, Ore.; and the Monongahela Valley near Pittsburgh.

Over the next 20 years, 1,116 of those women suffered hip fractures. Researchers categorized the women by age and then matched 4,464 women of the same age who didn't break a hip to serve as controls. They followed all of the women, sending out postcards every four months to check on their health status, and asking them to come in for clinic visits every 2 to 3 years. During the visits women were given a medical exam and asked to fill out questionnaires about their health status.  Cause of death was determined by death certificates and other supporting documentation where available. The leading causes of death
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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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