2013. Dimai HP et al. – Epidemiology of proximal humeral fractures in Austria between 1989 and 2008


Dimai HP, Svedbom A, Fahrleitner-Pammer A, Pieber T, Resch H, Zwettler E, et al. Epidemiology of proximal humeral fractures in Austria between 1989 and 2008. Osteoporos Int. 2013;24(9):2413-21.


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Introduction. The aim of the prevailing study was to estimate incidence rates of proximal humeral fractures and to assess changes in trend in the Austrian population aged 50 years and above, over a period of 20 years (1989-2008).

Methods. Number of proximal humeral fractures were obtained from the Austrian Hospital Discharge Register for the entire population >50 years of age. Adjustment factors were determined for multiple registrations of the same diagnosis, and for the fact that not all patients with proximal humeral fractures are treated in an inpatient setting. To analyze the overall change in this type of fracture for the period, average annual changes expressed as incidence rate ratios were calculated.

Result. The estimated age-standardized incidence (fractures per 100,000 individuals) of proximal humeral fractures among Austrians >50 years of age increased in men from 112 (95% CI, 99-124) to 141 (129-153) and in women from 222 (202-241) to 383 (360-406). The increase appeared to be linear with no leveling off towards the end of the study period.

Conclusion. While some caution is necessary when interpreting the results given the use of adjustment factors, there appears to have been a rise in the incidence of proximal humeral fractures in Austria in both men and women, with no leveling off in recent years. The reasons for this are not clear, but in the light of previously reported leveling off in the increase in the incidence of hip fractures, a change in the patterns of falls cannot be ruled out.