Women ages 65-69 who break a hip are five times more likely to die within a year than women of the same age who don't break a hip, according to a Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published online Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The study breaks down death risk by age group. In addition to the finding for women ages 65-69, it finds that for women ages 70-79, a hip fracture doubles the risk of dying within a year. Most women 80 and older have the same risk of dying within a year whether they fracture their hip or not, but for women 80 and older who are in excellent health, a hip fracture nearly triples the risk of dying within a year.
Other studies have found that women who break a hip are at higher risk for earlier death, but most of those studies concluded that the increased risk was not because of the fracture, but because of underlying health conditions such as heart disease, stroke or diabetes. This study controlled for these underlying health conditions and also matched each woman who broke her hip with four women of the same age who didn't break a hip.
"Our study suggests that it is the hip fracture, and not just poor health, that puts these women at higher risk of dying," said Teresa Hillier, MD, MS, co-author and senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research. "We also found women are at the highest risk of dying within the first three months after hip fracture, which leads us to hypothesize that hospitalization, surgery and immobility lead to other complications that ultimately result in their death."