Although women may be more likely to experience an initial osteoporosis fracture, men may face a greater risk of death following a subsequent fracture, according to new research.

The study was presented during the recent Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

“Although women are more likely to sustain an initial, osteoporosis-related ‘fragility fracture,’ men have similar rates of incurring a subsequent fracture and are at greater risk for mortality after these injuries,” explains Alan Zhang, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon and assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco, and the study’s lead author, in a media release from the AAOS.

Reviewing the Medicare Standard Analytic Files (SAF) database the researchers identified 1 million patients, age 65 and older, who had a diagnosis of osteoporosis and experienced a fragility fracture between 2005 and 2009. After sorting the records by sex and the location of the first fracture, they note that 87% of the osteoporosis patients were female, and 13% were male.

During a 3-year follow-up period, the researchers then compared the incidence of second fragility fractures, as well as 1-year mortality rates, between men and women, according to the release.

According to their findings, the researchers note that: Women had a five-fold higher risk for an initial fragility fracture compared to men, and yet the relative risk for a subsequent fragility fracture within 3 years of the first fracture was slightly lower for women compared to men.

In addition, men who required surgical treatment for an initial fragility fracture were more likely to suffer a subsequent fragility fracture within 3 years. The exception was in men who suffered a vertebral (spinal) compression fracture (in these instances, the risk was comparable).

Also, men had higher 1-year mortality rates for almost all fracture types studied (18.7% in men versus 13.9% in women). The only exception was ankle fractures where 1-year mortality rates between men and women were comparable (8.1% for men and 8.4% for women).

“The key findings from this study show that patient sex can affect the risk for sustaining a fragility fracture related to osteoporosis,” Zhang adds in the release. “These findings may be used to better counsel patients after an initial fragility fracture and to improve predictive tools for monitoring subsequent injuries.”

[Source(s): Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, PR Newswire]