Physicians Don’t Recognize Osteoporosis
In 2000, Kamel et al. retrospectively studied the charts of 170 patients age 65 and older who were hospitalized with a hip fracture, and found that fewer than 5% had been diagnosed with or treated for osteoporosis.7 Follin et al., noted similar results in 2003, reporting that only 14% of the patients were diagnosed with osteoporosis prior to discharge and 75% of patients received no therapy.10
Follin et al., also noted patients who received a diagnosis of osteoporosis prior to discharge were more likely to receive therapy. Sixty-five percent of patients diagnosed with osteoporosis received treatment as opposed to 20% of those not diagnosed. They surmised the lack of treatment may relate to the lack of recognition that a fragility fracture often means osteoporosis.10
Hospitalist Consult, Treatment of Osteoporosis in Hip Fracture Patients
A 2003 retrospective analysis from a university-based academic hospital aimed to determine whether hospitalist consultation during admission for a hip fracture resulted in improved treatment of osteoporosis. The results indicated 29% of patients received treatment for osteoporosis at the time of discharge. Twenty percent received calcium, and only 7% received a bisphosphonate. Those who received hospitalist consultation did not have a significant improvement in osteoporosis treatment, thus representing a huge missed opportunity.11
Back to the Case
You recognize that, because your patient has sustained a fragility fracture, she has osteoporosis and you wish to initiate treatment before she leaves the hospital. Her 25-hydroxyvitamin D level is 18 ng/mL. You commence 50,000 units of vitamin D once weekly and advise that she have her vitamin D level checked again in three months by her primary care provider. She has no contraindications, thus you also initiate a bisphosphonate and remind her to take 1,200 mg of calcium daily.
You encourage smoking cessation, decreased alcohol use, a simplified medication regimen, and weight-bearing exercises in the future. In addition, you ensure she has the proper gait stability items at discharge. You arrange a visiting nurse/therapist to assess her home for fall risks. Lastly, you schedule an outpatient bone mineral density scan and arrange a follow-up with her primary care provider. TH
Dr. Baker is a hospitalist at Ohio State University. Dr McDermott is professor of medicine and clinical pharmacy and endocrinology and diabetes practice director, University of Colorado Denver.
- Berry SD, Samelson EJ, Hannan MT, et al. Second hip fracture in older men and women. The Framingham Study. Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(18):1971-1976.
- Juby AG, De Gues-Wenceslau CM. Evaluation of osteoporosis treatment in seniors after hip fracture. Osteoporosis Int. 2002;13:205-210.
- Gardner MJ, Brophy RH, Demetrakopoulos D, et al. Interventions to improve osteoporosis treatment following hip fracture. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. 2005;87-A(1):3-7.
- Gardner MJ, Flik KR, Mooar P, Lane JM.Improve-ment in the undertreatment of osteoporosis following hip fracture. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. 2002;84-A(8):1342-1348.
- Seeman E, Delmas PD. Bone quality-the material and structural basis of bone strength and fragility. N Engl J Med. 2006;354(21):2250-2261.
- Holick, MF. Vitamin D Deficiency. N Engl J Med. 2007;357(3):266-281.
- Glauser T. Practical strategies for managing osteoporosis: An evidence-based approach to risk assessment and treatment. Dialogues in Clinical Practice. 2007.
- Morin S, Rahme E, Behlouli H, Tenenhouse A, Goltzman D, Pilote L. Effectiveness of antiresorptive agents in the prevention of recurrent hip fractures. Osteoporosis Int. 2007;18:1625-1632.
- Lyles KW, Colon-Emeric CS, Magaziner JS, et al. Zolendronic acid and clinical fractures and mortality after hip fracture. N Engl J Med. 2007;357:1799-1809.
- Follin SL, Black JN, McDermott MT. Lack of diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis in men and women after hip fracture. Pharmacotherapy.2003;23(2):190-198.
- Jachna CM, Whittle J, Lukert B, Graves L, Bhargava T. Effect of hospitalist consultation on treatment of osteoporosis in hip fracture patients. Osteoporosis Int. 2003;14:665-671.