Frailty and risk of osteoporotic fractures in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: Data from the Ontario Best Practices Research Initiative
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The evidence assessing the relationship between frailty and risk of adverse health outcomes in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) remains limited and sparse in the literature. Data from the Ontario Best Practices Research Initiative (OBRI), a clinical registry of patients with RA, were used to explore the relationship between frailty and fracture risk in patients with RA. Patients were referred to OBRI by their participating rheumatologist, and contacted by OBRI trained interviewers. Primary outcome was time to first incident osteoporotic fractures during follow-up that led to a hospitalization or emergency room visit. Frailty was measured by a Rockwood-type frailty index (FI) of deficit accumulation that consisted of 32 health-related deficits. To quantify the relationship between frailty and risk of fracture, we used Cox proportional hazards models with hazard ratios (HRs) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) reported. We included 2923 patients (mean age 57.7 standard deviation [SD]: 12.7; 78% female,) for analyses. During a mean follow-up of 3.7 years, there were 125 (4.3%) incident fractures reported. The FI was significantly higher in patients with a fracture compared to controls (0.24 vs. 0.20, p = 0.02). The FI was found to be significantly related to increased risk of fracture in the fully-adjusted models, with a HR of 1.04 (95% CI: 1.02-1.06, p < 0.001) and 1.58 (95% CI: 1.32-1.89, p < 0.001) for per-0.01 and per-SD increase in the FI respectively. In summary, our study demonstrates that higher frailty status is significantly related to increased risk of osteoporotic fractures in patients with RA. Quantifying the frailty status as a research tool may aid in fracture risk assessment, management and decision-making in RA.
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