In many countries, osteoporosis is predominantly managed by primary care physicians; however, management after a fragility fracture has not been widely investigated. We describe osteoporosis care gaps in a real-world patient cohort. Our findings help inform initiatives to identify and overcome obstacles to effective management of patients after fragility fracture.
A fragility fracture is a major risk factor for subsequent fracture in adults aged ≥ 50 years. This retrospective observational study aimed to characterize post-fracture management in Canadian primary care.
A total of 778 patients with an index fragility fracture (low-trauma, excluding small bones) occurring between 2014 and 2016 were identified from medical records at 76 primary care centers in Canada, with follow-up until January 2018.
Of 778 patients (80.5% female, median age [IQR] 73 [64–80]), 215 were on osteoporosis treatment and 269 had osteoporosis diagnosis recorded prior to their index fracture. The median follow-up was 363 (IQR 91–808) days. Of patients not on osteoporosis treatment at their index fracture, 60.2% (
n= 339/563) remained untreated after their index fracture and 62.2% ( n= 23/37) continued untreated after their subsequent fracture. After their index fracture, fracture risk assessment (FRAX or CAROC) was not performed in 83.2% ( n= 647/778) of patients, and 59.9% ( n= 466/778) of patients did not receive bone mineral density testing. Of patients without osteoporosis diagnosis recorded prior to their index date, 61.3% ( n= 300/489) remained undiagnosed after their index fracture. At least one subsequent fracture occurred in 11.5% ( n= 86/778) of patients. Conclusion
In the primary care setting, fragility fracture infrequently resulted in osteoporosis treatment or fracture risk assessment, even after multiple fragility fractures. These results suggest a fragility fracture is not recognized as a major risk factor for subsequent fracture and its occurrence does not prompt primary care physicians to intervene. These data urge initiatives to identify and overcome obstacles to primary care physicians’ effective management of patients after fragility fractures.