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Abstract

We used an experimental software measuring the hip axis length (HAL) and bone mineral density (BMD) in specific regions of the lower and upper part of the femoral neck on dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans. To determine whether these parameters were significant predictors of the type of hip fracture, we measured 167 healthy women (controls), 24 women with trochanteric, and 42 women with cervical hip fractures within the EPIDOS prospective cohort. EPIDOS is a multicenter prospective study on risk factors for hip fracture performed in 7575 elderly women living at home, aged 75–95 and conducted in five French centers (Amiens, Lyon, Montpellier, Paris, Toulouse). Measurements were performed on data acquired at baseline before the occurrence of fracture. In the cervical fracture group, HAL was significantly longer than in controls (94.2 vs. 92.3, p = 0.03), and the associated odds ratio (OR) adjusted for age, weight, and total femoral neck BMD was significant (OR = 1.64, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06–2.55). In contrast, HAL was not significantly different from controls in the trochanteric fracture group. Femoral neck diameter was not a predictor of fracture. The upper and lower femoral neck BMD was lower in the trochanteric fracture group than in controls, and both measurements predicted trochanteric femoral neck fracture. In contrast, the prediction of cervical femoral neck fracture was enhanced by measuring only the upper part of the femoral neck (OR = 2.79 vs. 1.97 for the total femoral neck) while BMD of the lower part was not different from controls. Hip axis length is a predictor of femoral neck fracture. Femoral neck BMD distribution is different between cervical and trochanteric fractures. These results support the hypothesis of a different pathophysiological mechanism between the two types of hip fractures.