Conference Coverage

RA magnifies fragility fracture risk in ESRD



– Comorbid rheumatoid arthritis is a force multiplier for fragility fracture risk in patients with end-stage renal disease, Renée Peterkin-McCalman, MD, reported at the 2020 Rheumatology Winter Clinical Symposium.

Dr. Renée Peterkin-McCalman, second-year rheumatology fellow at Medical College of Georgia, Augusta. Bruce Jancin/MDedge News

Dr. Renée Peterkin-McCalman

“Patients with RA and ESRD are at substantially increased risk of osteoporotic fragility fractures compared to the overall population of ESRD patients. So fracture prevention prior to initiation of dialysis should be a focus of care in patients with RA,” said Dr. Peterkin-McCalman, a rheumatology fellow at the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta.

She presented a retrospective cohort study of 10,706 adults who initiated hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis for ESRD during 2005-2008, including 1,040 who also had RA. All subjects were drawn from the United States Renal Data System. The impetus for the study, Dr. Peterkin-McCalman explained in an interview, was that although prior studies have established that RA and ESRD are independent risk factors for osteoporotic fractures, the interplay between the two was previously unknown.

The risk of incident osteoporotic fractures during the first 3 years after going on renal dialysis was 14.7% in patients with ESRD only, vaulting to 25.6% in those with comorbid RA. Individuals with both RA and ESRD were at an adjusted 1.83-fold increased overall risk for new fragility fractures and at 1.85-fold increased risk for hip fracture, compared to those without RA.

Far and away the strongest risk factor for incident osteoporotic fractures in the group with RA plus ESRD was a history of a fracture sustained within 5 years prior to initiation of dialysis, with an associated 11.5-fold increased fracture risk overall and an 8.2-fold increased risk of hip fracture.

“The reason that’s important is we don’t really have any medications to reduce fracture risk once you get to ESRD. Of course, we have bisphosphonates and Prolia (denosumab) and things like that, but that’s in patients with milder CKD [chronic kidney disease] or no renal disease at all. So the goal is to identify the patients early who are at higher risk so that we can protect those bones before they get to ESRD and we have nothing left to treat them with,” she said.

In addition to a history of prevalent fracture prior to starting ESRD, the other risk factors for fracture in patients with ESRD and comorbid RA Dr. Peterkin-McCalman identified in her study included age greater than 50 years at the start of dialysis and female gender, which was associated with a twofold greater fracture risk than in men. Black patients with ESRD and RA were 64% less likely than whites to experience an incident fragility fracture. And the fracture risk was higher in patients on hemodialysis than with peritoneal dialysis.

Her study was supported by the Medical College of Georgia and a research grant from Dialysis Clinic Inc.

SOURCE: Peterkin-McCalman R et al. RWCS 2020.

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