Context: Renal failure places people at particularly high risk of hip fracture. However, the possible differential impact of dialysis and renal transplantation on this risk is not well understood.
Objective: To determine if patients who receive kidney transplants are at greater risk of hip fracture compared with those who continue to undergo dialysis.
Design, setting, and participants: Cohort study of 101 039 patients with end-stage renal disease placed on the renal transplant waiting list in the United States between January 1, 1990, and December 31, 1999.
Main outcome measures: Hip fractures, identified from Medicare claims data.
Results: Among the patients included in this analysis, 971 hip fractures were observed during the follow-up period of 314 767 person-years. The incidence rate of hip fracture in patients receiving dialysis was 2.9 per 1000 patients per year compared with 3.3 hip fractures per 1000 patients per year in those who had previously received a renal transplant. Initially, the relative risk (RR) of hip fracture associated with transplantation was 1.34-fold greater when compared with dialysis (adjusted RR, 1.34; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.12-1.61) but then decreased by 1% per month (adjusted RR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.98-0.99) until the estimated risk became equal for dialysis and transplant recipients approximately 630 days after transplantation (adjusted RR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.87-1.15). Among transplant recipients, risk of fracture was relatively higher in persons with a prolonged period of dialysis before transplantation.
Conclusion: The high risk of hip fracture among dialysis patients is exceeded by that among renal transplant patients during the first 1 to 3 years after transplantation.