Bone and Joint Institute


Estimating osteoporotic fracture risk following a wrist fracture: a tale of two systems

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Archives of Osteoporosis





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© 2015, The Author(s). Summary: The WHO fracture risk assessment (FRAX) and Canadian Association of Radiologists and Osteoporosis Canada (CAROC) tools can both be used to determine an individual’s 10-year risk of osteoporotic fracture. However, these tools differ in their risk calculation. For participants <65 years with a wrist fracture, FRAX provides a lower fracture risk estimate than CAROC resulting in fewer decisions to initiate therapy.Purpose: The purpose of the current report is to compare fracture risk prediction rates using the CAROC and the FRAX® tools.Methods: Individuals ≥50 years with a distal radius fracture resulting from a fall from standing height or less were recruited from a single orthopedic clinic. Participants underwent a DXA scan of their lumbar spine and hip. Femoral neck (FN) bone mineral density (BMD) and fracture risk factors were used to determine each participant’s 10-year fracture risk using both fracture risk assessment tools. Participants were categorized as low (<10 %), moderate (10–20 %), or high (>20 %) risk. Stratified by age (<65 years, >65 years), the proportion of participants in each category was compared between the tools.Results: Analyses included 60 participants (mean age 65.7 ± 9.6 years). In those <65 years (n = 26), the proportion of individuals at low, moderate, and high risk differed between the FRAX and CAROC tools (p < 0.0001). FRAX categorized 69 % as low (CAROC 0 %) and 3 % as high (CAROC 12 %) risk. For individuals >65 years, almost all were at least at moderate risk (FRAX 79 %, CAROC 53 %), but fewer were at high risk using FRAX (18 vs. 47 %, p < 0.0003).Conclusion: For participants <65 years with a wrist fracture, FRAX provides a lower estimate of 10-year fracture risk than CAROC resulting in fewer decisions to initiate therapy. However, almost all participants >65 years were at moderate or high risk under both FRAX and CAROC and should at least be considered for pharmacotherapy.

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