Socio-economic inequalities in fragility fracture outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prognostic observational studies

G Valentin, S E Pedersen, R Christensen, K Friis, C P Nielsen, A Bhimjiyani, C L Gregson, B L Langdahl

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


SUMMARY: Individuals with low socio-economic status (SES) have a higher risk of dying following hip fracture compared with individuals with high SES. Evidence on social inequalities in non-hip fractures is lacking as well as evidence on the impact of SES on health-related quality of life post fracture.

INTRODUCTION: Fragility fractures, especially of the hip, cause substantial excess mortality and impairment in health-related quality of life (HRQoL). This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to investigate the association between socio-economic status (SES) and post-fracture mortality and HRQoL.

METHODS: PubMed, EMBASE and CINAHL databases were searched from inception to the last week of November 2018 for studies reporting an association between SES and post-fracture mortality and/or HRQoL among people aged ≥ 50 years. Risk ratios (RRs) were meta-analyzed using a standard inverse-variance-weighted random effects model. Studies using individual-level and area-based SES measures were analyzed separately.

RESULTS: A total of 24 studies from 15 different countries and involving more than one million patients with hip fractures were included. The overall risk of mortality within 1-year post-hip fracture in individuals with low SES was 24% higher than in individuals with high SES (RR 1.24, 95% CI 1.19 to 1.29) for individual-level SES measures, and 14% (RR 1.14, 95% CI 1.09 to 1.19) for area-based SES measures. The quality of the evidence for the outcome mortality was moderate. Using individual SES measures, we estimated the excess HRQoL loss to be 5% (95% CI - 1 to 10%) among hip fracture patients with low SES compared with high SES.

CONCLUSIONS: We found a consistently increased risk of post-hip fracture mortality with low SES across SES measures and across countries with different political structures and different health and social care infrastructures. The impact of SES on post-fracture HRQoL remains uncertain due to sparse and low-quality evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalOsteoporosis International
Early online date30 Aug 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Aug 2019


  • fractures
  • health-related quality of life
  • inequality
  • mortality
  • socio-economic status

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