Objective: To evaluate the association between potential risk factors and incident clinical fractures in Japanese patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods: A total of 1733 female patients with RA over age 50 years were enrolled in a prospective observational cohort study. Participants were followed for 54 months from October 2000 to March 2005, and classified into 4 groups according to incident fracture status since baseline: those without a new fracture; those with a new clinically recognized vertebral fracture; those with an incident nonvertebral fracture at the wrist, hip, humerus, pelvis, or ribs (main nonvertebral fracture); and those with any new nonvertebral fracture. Cox proportional hazard models were used to analyze independent contributions of various risk factors to fracture incidence.
Results: During the followup period, 33, 34, and 98 patients developed a vertebral, a main nonvertebral, and any nonvertebral fracture, respectively. The Japanese Health Assessment Questionnaire (J-HAQ) score was associated with relative risks (RR) of 2.42 (95% confidence interval 1.42-4.14), 1.76 (95% CI 1.07-2.89), and 1.73 (95% CI 1.29-2.32) for vertebral, main nonvertebral, and all nonvertebral fractures. The risks of vertebral and any nonvertebral fractures were increased for age over 70 years compared with age in the 50s (RR 3.25, 95% CI 1.19-8.86; and RR 2.22, 95% CI 1.20-4.10, respectively). Clinical variables and medications were associated with a new fracture.
Conclusion: HAQ, age, history of any prior fracture, and orthopedic surgery for RA appear to be associated with fractures in Japanese women with RA.