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Heart Failure Linked to Higher Osteoporotic Fracture Risk

Last Updated: May 11, 2011.

Heart failure is associated with an increased risk for vertebral compression fracture (VCF), and more than half of those with VCF have multiple fractures, according to a study published online May 10 in Circulation: Heart Failure.

WEDNESDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- Heart failure is associated with an increased risk for vertebral compression fracture (VCF), and more than half of those with VCF have multiple fractures, according to a study published online May 10 in Circulation: Heart Failure.

Kristin Lyons, M.D., C.M., from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and colleagues examined the prevalence and predictors of VCF, the most common osteoporotic fracture, in patients with heart failure. Sociodemographic, clinical, medication, and chest-radiograph data were collected from 623 patients with heart failure, of whom 32 percent were over 75 years of age, 31 percent were women, 65 percent had ischemic cardiomyopathy, and 38 percent had atrial fibrillation.

The investigators found that 12 percent of patients had VCF and 55 percent of these had multiple fractures. Of those with VCF, only 15 percent were treated for osteoporosis. The only predictors independently associated with fracture risk, after adjusting for age, female gender, weight, and medications, were atrial fibrillation, present in 55 percent of patients with VCF, compared to 36 percent of patients without (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 2.1), and lipid-lowering drugs used by 47 percent of patients with VCF, compared to 63 percent of patients without (adjusted OR, 0.2).

"About one-tenth of heart failure patients had a chest-radiograph-documented VCF, and half of those with VCF had multiple fractures; most (85 percent) were not on an osteoporosis-specific therapy. A previously unrecognized risk factor --atrial fibrillation -- was found to be independently associated with VCF," the authors write.

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