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Older black women have worse outcomes after fragility fracture



– Older black women with postmenopausal osteoporosis had significantly higher mortality rates, were more likely to be placed in a long-term nursing facility, and were more likely to become newly eligible for Medicaid after a major fragility fracture event, compared with their white counterparts, according to a findings presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

Previous studies have examined racial differences in mortality and outcomes after fracture, but the data from those studies are older or limited to a certain region or health system, Nicole C. Wright, PhD, MPH, of the department of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in her presentation.

“To our knowledge, this is the first comprehensive evaluation of fractures and outcomes post fracture by race, particularly in black women,” she said.

Using Medicare data from between 2010 and 2016, Dr. Wright and colleagues performed a cohort-based, descriptive study of 400,479 white women and 11,563 black women with postmenopausal osteoporosis, who were covered by Medicare Parts A, B, C and D and had a hip, pelvis, femur, radius/ulna, humerus, or clinical vertebral fractures. Fractures were identified by way of a validated algorithm that used inpatient and outpatient claims, outpatient physical evaluations, and management claims, together with fracture repair codes (positive predictive value range, 90.9%-98.6%; from Wright N et al. J Bone Min Res. 2019 Jun 6. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.3807).

The groups had similar proportions of patients in each age group (65-75 years, 75-84 years, 85 years and older), with a slightly higher percentage of younger black patients than younger white patients (25.0% vs. 22.4%, respectively). Black patients were more likely than white patients to be from the South (58.6% vs. 39.7%) and have a Charlson Comorbidity Index score of 2 or higher (62.9% vs. 45.4%). White patients were more likely than black patients to have a Charlson score of 0 (42.0% vs. 24.1%).

The three identifying outcomes were: death/mortality, which was determined using the date in the Medicare vital status; debility, a term used for patients newly placed in a long-term nursing facility; and destitution, used to describe patients who became newly eligible for Medicaid after a major fragility fracture.

The results showed that the most common fracture types were hip and clinical vertebral fractures, with black women having a significantly lower rate of clinical vertebral fractures (29.0% vs. 34.1%, respectively) but a significantly higher rate of femur fractures (9.1% vs. 3.8%). Black women also had a significantly higher mortality rate after a fracture (19.6% vs. 15.4%), and a significantly higher composite outcome of all three identifying outcome measurements (24.6% vs. 20.2%). However, rates of debility and destitution were similar between the groups.

When measured by fracture type, black women had significantly different 1-year postfracture outcomes, compared with white women, with a 38.0% higher incidence of mortality, 40.2% higher rate of debility, 185.0% higher rate of destitution, and 35.4% higher composite outcome for hip fracture. For radius/ulna fractures, black women also had a 59.7% higher rate of death, 8.5% higher rate of debility, 164.7% higher rate of destitution, and 43.0% higher composite outcomes; and for clinical vertebral fractures, they had 11.4% higher rate of death, 10.8% higher rate of debility, 130.6% higher rate of destitution, and 13.6% higher composite outcome, compared with white women.

Overall, black women had higher incidence risk ratios for death (IRR, 1.24; 95% confidence interval, 1.15-1.33), debility (IRR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.06-1.33), and destitution (IRR, 2.45; 95% CI, 2.20-2.73) for fractures of the hip; higher IRRs for death (IRR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.33-1.66), debility (IRR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.87-1.20), and destitution (IRR, 2.70; 95% CI, 2.33-3.13) for fractures of the radius or ulna; and higher IRRs for death (IRR, 1.07; 95% CI, 0.98-1.17) and destitution (IRR, 2.40; 95% CI, 2.15-2.67) for clinical vertebral fractures.

“These data show that we need to develop interventions and/or programs to mitigate and reduce disparities in fracture outcomes,” said Dr. Wright.

She noted that the study results were limited because of its observational nature, and results cannot be generalized beyond older women with postmenopausal osteoporosis with Medicare coverage. In addition, the algorithm used to determine fracture status also had a potentially low sensitivity, which may have affected the study results, she said.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Dr. Wright reported receiving grants from Amgen and serving as an expert witness for the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright and Pfizer. Dr. Chen reported receiving grants from Amgen. Dr. Curtis reported receiving grants from, and is a consultant for, Amgen, Eli Lilly, and Radius. Dr. Saag reported receiving grants from Amgen and is a consultant for Gilead and Radius.

SOURCE: Wright NC et al. ASBMR 2019, Abstract 1125.

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