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New horizons in fracture risk assessment

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Terry AsprayORCiD


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Fracture is the clinical outcome of concern in osteoporosis, a disease variably defined over the last 30 years, mostly in terms of bone mineral density (BMD). However, an ‘osseocentric’ view of the condition may have hampered our understanding of how best to identify patients at the greatest risk of fragility fracture. More recently, the identification of a number of clinical risk factors for fragility fracture and the creation of fracture risk assessment tools, such as FRAX®, QFracture and Garvan have helped in a move towards clinically useful definitions, using the common currency of 10-year major osteoporotic and 10-year hip fracture risks. However, there are a large number of available fracture risk assessment tools and there remain few validation studies comparing their performance. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has recently advocated the use of these methods in case finding and studies are underway in their clinical application. It seems likely that the operational definition of osteoporosis must now include fracture risk, which will never replace fracture incidence as a measure of clinical efficacy but may be used in future studies to define patient groups likely to benefit from intervention. We still need to understand more about the performance of these tools, particularly in the context of specific patient groups, such as those with vertebral osteoporosis, the frail, those who fall and patients with secondary osteoporosis.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Aspray TJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Age and Ageing

Year: 2013

Volume: 42

Issue: 5

Pages: 548-554

Print publication date: 01/09/2013

Online publication date: 26/07/2013

Acceptance date: 06/06/2013

ISSN (print): 0002-0729

ISSN (electronic): 1468-2834

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/ageing/aft095

PubMed id: 23892830


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