BACKGROUND & AIMS:
Cirrhosis, the prevalence of which is increasing, is a risk factor for osteoporosis and fractures. However, little is known of the actual risk of hip fractures in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis. Using linked primary and secondary care data from the English and Danish nationwide registries, we quantified the hip fracture risk in two national cohorts of patients with alcoholic cirrhosis.
We followed 3,706 English and 17,779 Danish patients with a diagnosis of alcoholic cirrhosis, and we identified matched controls from the general populations. We estimated hazard ratios (HR) of hip fracture for patients vs. controls, adjusted for age, sex and comorbidity.
The five-year hip fracture risk was raised both in England (2.9% vs. 0.8% for controls) and Denmark (4.6% vs. 0.9% for controls). With confounder adjustment, patients with cirrhosis had fivefold (adjusted HR 5.5; 95% CI 4.3-6.9), and 8.5-fold (adjusted HR 8.5; 95% CI 7.8-9.3) increased rates of hip fracture, in England and Denmark, respectively. This association between alcoholic cirrhosis and risk of hip fracture showed significant interaction with age (p <0.001), being stronger in younger age groups (under 45 years, HR 17.9 and 16.6 for English and Danish patients, respectively) than in patients over 75 years (HR 2.1 and 2.9, respectively). In patients with alcoholic cirrhosis, 30-day mortality following a hip fracture was 11.1% in England and 10.0% in Denmark, giving age-adjusted post-fracture mortality rate ratios of 2.8(95% CI 1.9-3.9) and 2.0(95% CI 1.5-2.7), respectively.
Patients with alcoholic cirrhosis have a markedly increased risk of hip fracture and post-hip fracture mortality compared with the general population. These findings support the need for more effort towards fracture prevention in this population, to benefit individuals and reduce the societal burden.
Alcoholic cirrhosis creates a large public health burden and is a risk factor for bone fractures. Based on data from England and Denmark, we found that hip fractures occur more than five times more frequently in people with alcoholic cirrhosis than in people without the disease. Additionally, the aftermath of the hip fracture is severe, such that up to 11% of patients with alcoholic cirrhosis die within 30 days after their hip fracture. These results suggest that efforts directed towards fracture prevention in people with alcoholic cirrhosis could be beneficial.