We sought to determine current trends in the number of fall-related and osteoporosis-related proximal humeral fractures in elderly Finns during last three decades. We collected data from the National Hospital Discharge Register on all patients 60 years or older who were admitted to Finnish hospitals from 1970 to 2002 for primary treatment of proximal humeral fractures. Fractures induced by traffic accidents or other high-energy traumas were excluded. The number and incidence (per 100,000 patients) of fractures increased from 208 (number) and 32 (incidence) in 1970 to 1120 (number) and 105 (incidence) in 2002. The age adjusted incidence of proximal humeral fractures also showed an increase, from 51 (1970) to 129 (2002) in women, and from 14 (1970) to 48 (2002) in men. In women 80 years or older, the age specific incidence of fracture increased from 90 (1970) to 294 (2002), while in the other age groups trend changes were less extensive. The mean patient age also increased, from 73 years (1970) to 78 years (2002) in women and from 70 years (1970) to 73 years (2002) in men. If these trends continue, the number of fractures in elderly Finns will triple during the next three decades.
Level of Evidence: Prognostic study, Level IV (case series). See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
From the *Accident & Trauma Research Center, UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research, Tampere, Finland; the †Department of Surgery, Tampere University Medical School and University Hospital, Tampere, Finland; and the ‡Research Center of Sports Medicine, UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research, Tampere, Finland.
One or more of the authors (MP, PK, and JP) have received funding from the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Juho Vainio and Paulo Foundations, and the Medical Research Fund of Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.
Each author certifies that his institution has approved or waived approval for the human protocol for this investigation and that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research. Correspondence to: Mika Palvanen, MD, PhD, Accident & Trauma Research Center, UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research, Kaupinpuistonkatu 1, FIN-33500 Tampere, Finland. Phone: 358-3-2829-111; Fax: 358-3-2829- 200; E-mail: email@example.com.