RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Emergency department visits due to vertebral fractures in the Netherlands, 1986-2008: steep increase in the oldest old, strong association with falls.

Injury 2012 April
BACKGROUND: Vertebral fractures are a common consequence of osteoporosis in older persons. With the ageing of the population, numbers are expected to rise.

OBJECTIVE: To determine trends in health care demand due to vertebral fracture related emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations in the older Dutch population.

DESIGN AND SETTING: Secular trend analysis of vertebral fracture related ED visits between 1986 and 2008, using the Dutch Injury Surveillance System. All ED visits with a primary diagnosis of a vertebral fracture in persons aged ≥65 years were extracted from this database.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Numbers, age-specific and age-adjusted incidence rates (per 100,000 population) of ED visits and hospitalization rates due to vertebral fractures in the older Dutch population were calculated for each year of the study.

RESULTS: The total number of ED visits due to a vertebral fracture increased from 913 in 1986 to 2502 in 2008 (174% increase). The majority of fractures were caused by a low-energetic fall incident (83%). The overall age-adjusted incidence rate increased from 51.6 per 100,000 population in 1986 to 103.6 in 2008. Incidence rates increased with age and were higher in females than in males. The hospitalization rate remained stable at about 50-55%, in both females and males.

CONCLUSION: Vertebral fracture related ED visits and hospitalizations are increasing rapidly in the older Dutch population, especially in the oldest-old. Most vertebral fractures were associated with falls. These findings indicate that a pro-active approach in the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and in the prevention of falls in both men and women is warranted.

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