OBJECTIVE: To examine several dimensions of health-related quality of life (HRQL) in postmenopausal women who report previous fractures, and to provide perspective by comparing these findings with those in other chronic conditions (diabetes, arthritis, lung disease).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Fractures are a major cause of morbidity among older women. Few studies have examined HRQL in women who have had prior fractures and the effect of prior fracture location on HRQL. In this observational study of 57,141 postmenopausal women aged 55 years and older (enrollment from December 2007 to March 2009) from 17 study sites in 10 countries, HRQL was measured using the European Quality of Life 5 Dimensions Index (EQ-5D) and the health status, physical function, and vitality questions of the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36).
RESULTS: Reductions in EQ-5D health-utility scores and SF-36–measured health status, physical function, and vitality were seen in association with 9 of 10 fracture locations. Spine, hip, and upper leg fractures resulted in the greatest reductions in quality of life (EQ-5D scores, 0.62, 0.64, and 0.61, respectively, vs 0.79 without prior fracture). Women with fractures at any of these 3 locations, as well as women with a history of multiple fractures (EQ-5D scores, 0.74 for 1 prior fracture, 0.68 for 2, and 0.58 for ≥3), had reductions in HRQL that were similar to or worse than those in women with other chronic diseases (0.67 for diabetes, 0.69 for arthritis, and 0.71 for lung disease).
CONCLUSION: Previous fractures at a variety of bone locations, particularly spine, hip, and upper leg, or involving more than 1 location are associated with significant reductions in quality of life.
This observational study of 57,141 postmenopausal women shows that previous fractures at a variety of bone locations, particularly the spine, hip, and upper leg, or involving more than 1 location are associated with significant reductions in quality of life.