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Abstract

In a population-based retrospective cohort study, Rochester women aged 35–69 years who were first diagnosed with one or more vertebral fractures in 1950–1979 were followed for the development of a subsequent hip fracture. The 336 women with no history of hip fracture at the time of their vertebral fracture experienced 52 proximal femur fractures in 4788 person-years of follow-up. The standardized morbidity ratio (SMR) of observed to expected hip fractures was 1.8 (95% CI, 1.3–2.4) and was higher for intertrochanteric than cervical femoral fractures (SMR, 2.3 versus 1.3; P = 0.07). Hip fracture risk among women with symptomatic vertebral fractures was slightly less than in those with asymptomatic vertebral fractures (SMR, 1.8 versus 2.3; not significant), and younger women had no higher risk of a subsequent hip fracture than women who were ≥60 years of age at the time of their vertebral fracture (SMR, 1.4 versus 1.8; not significant). Alternative explanations are possible, but these data are consistent with heterogeneity in the pathogenesis of different osteoporotic fractures.