A Simple Risk Score for the Assessment of Absolute Fracture Risk in General Practice Based on Two Longitudinal Studies


  • Dr. Lips has received grants and funding from Aventis, Procter & Gamble, Merck, and Wyeth. He serves as a consultant for Eli Lilly and Co., Merck, and Servier. All other authors state that they have no conflicts of interest.


The aim of this prospective study was to develop a risk score, based on putative risk factors in current guidelines, which can be used to identify women at high risk of fractures in general practice. The study sample included 4157 women ≥60 yr of age (mean ± SD: 74.1 ± 9.1 yr), with a median follow-up of 8.9 yr of the Rotterdam Study (ERGO), and 762 women ≥65 yr of age (mean ± SD: 76.0 ± 6.7.yr), with a median follow-up of 6.0 yr of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA). Potential risk factors were those proposed in risk scores of three recent guidelines on osteoporosis: age, family history of fractures, prior fracture, low body weight/body mass index (BMI), serious immobility, rheumatoid arthritis, current smoking, alcohol consumption >2 units daily, prevalent vertebral fracture, and systemic corticosteroid use. Five-year absolute risk of hip fracture was 3.9% in the Rotterdam Study and 3.1% in LASA, and 10-yr absolute risk of hip fracture was 8.4% in the Rotterdam Study. Using Cox regression analysis, age (70–79 and 80+ versus <60–69) and four other risk factors were included in the risk profiles of hip fractures and fragility fractures: any prior fracture after age 50, body weight <64 kg, use of a walking aid as a proxy measure of serious immobility, and current smoking. Estimated 10-yr absolute risk of hip fracture ranged from 1.4% in women, age 60–69 years, without any of these predictors to 29% in women, ≥80 yr of age, having two or more positive risk factors. A simple risk score can satisfactorily identify older women at high risk of osteoporotic fractures in general practice. Future studies are needed to validate this score.