Screening via a simple questionnaire, combined with bone mineral density measurements, may be able to identify those at risk of hip fracture, according to researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

The study, published recently in The Lancet, involved more than 12,000 older women. Among the women who agreed to participate, screening led to a 28% reduction in hip fractures over 5 years, per a media release from the University of East Anglia.

The researchers—from the Universities of Southampton, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and York, and over 100 primary care practices—used a tool developed at the University of Sheffield called FRAX, which predicts the probability of a hip fracture or a major osteoporotic fracture (a hip, spine, upper arm or lower arm fracture), to identify older women at high risk.

A total of 12,483 women aged 70-85 were recruited from 100 GP practices in seven regions (Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Norwich, Sheffield, Southampton, and York) to participate in the study. Half of the participants were screened, and half received routine care.

Among those screened, treatment was subsequently recommended for one in seven women deemed at high risk of hip fracture. More than three quarters of the women at high risk were on osteoporosis medications within 6 months of screening.

Also in the screening group, there were 54 fewer women who suffered one or more hip fractures compared to the routine care group.

The study suggests that one hip fracture could be prevented for every 111 women screened, and early analysis suggests the approach is likely to be cost-effective, the release explains.

“This is the first trial to show that a community-screening approach based on the FRAX fracture risk tool is both feasible and effective. Given that the number of costly and debilitating hip fractures are expected to increase with an ageing population, the results of this study potentially have important public health implications,” says lead researcher Prof Lee Shepstone, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, in the release.

[Source(s): University of East Anglia, Science Daily]