From the Journals

Few stroke patients undergo osteoporosis screening, treatment



Although stroke is a risk factor for osteoporosis, falls, and fractures, very few people who have experienced a recent stroke are either screened for osteoporosis or treated, research suggests.

Writing in Stroke, researchers presented an analysis of Ontario registry data from 16,581 patients who were aged 65 years or older and presented with stroke between 2003 and 2013.

Overall, just 5.1% of patients underwent bone mineral density testing. Of the 1,577 patients who had experienced a prior fracture, 71 (4.7%) had bone mineral density testing, and only 2.9% of those who had not had prior bone mineral density testing were tested after their stroke. Bone mineral density testing was more likely in patients who were younger, who were female, and who experienced a low-trauma fracture in the year after their stroke.

In total, 15.5% of patients were prescribed osteoporosis drugs in the first year after their stroke. However, only 7.8% of those who had fractures before the stroke and 14.8% of those with fractures after the stroke received osteoporosis treatment after the stroke. Patients who were female, had prior osteoporosis, had experienced prior fracture, had previously undergone bone mineral density testing, or had experienced a fracture or fall after their stroke were more likely to receive osteoporosis pharmacotherapy.

The authors found that the neither the severity of stroke nor the presence of other comorbidities was associated with an increased likelihood of screening or treatment of osteoporosis after the stroke.

Stroke is associated with up to a fourfold increased risk of osteoporosis and fracture, compared with healthy controls, most probably because of reduced mobility and an increased risk of falls, wrote Eshita Kapoor of the department of medicine at the University of Toronto and her coauthors.

“Screening and treatment may be particularly low poststroke because of under-recognition of osteoporosis as a consequence of stroke, a selective focus on the management of cardiovascular risk and stroke recovery, or factors such as dysphagia precluding use of oral bisphosphonates,” the authors wrote.

While the association is noted in U.S. stroke guidelines, there are few recommendations for treatment aside from fall prevention strategies, which the authors noted was a missed opportunity for prevention.

“Use of a risk prediction score to identify those at particularly high short-term risk of fractures after stroke may help to prioritize patients for osteoporosis testing and treatment,” they suggested.

The study was funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and was supported by ICES (Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences) and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. One author declared consultancies for the pharmaceutical sector. No other conflicts of interest were declared.

SOURCE: Kapoor E et al. Stroke. 2019 April 25. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.118.024685

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