The Phenotype of Patients with a Recent Fracture: A Literature Survey of the Fracture Liaison Service

Calcif Tissue Int. 2017 Sep;101(3):248-258. doi: 10.1007/s00223-017-0284-1. Epub 2017 May 24.


The aetiology of fractures in patients aged 50 years and older is multifactorial, and includes bone- and fall-related risks. The Fracture Liaison Service (FLS) is recommended to identify patients with a recent fracture and to evaluate their subsequent fracture risk, in order to take measures to decrease the risk of subsequent fractures in patients with a high risk phenotype. A literature survey was conducted to describe components of the bone- and fall-related phenotype of patients attending the FLS. Components of the patient phenotype at the FLS have been reported in 33 studies. Patient selection varied widely in terms of patient identification, selection, and FLS attendance. Consequently, there was a high variability in FLS patient characteristics, such as mean age (64-80 years), proportion of men (13-30%), and fracture locations (2-51% hip, <1-41% vertebral, and 49-95% non-hip, non-vertebral fractures). The studies also varied in the risk evaluation performed. When reported, there was a highly variability in the percentage of patients with osteoporosis (12-54%), prevalent vertebral fractures (20-57%), newly diagnosed contributors to secondary osteoporosis and metabolic bone disorders (3-70%), and fall-related risk factors (60-84%). In FLS literature, we found a high variability in patient selection and risk evaluation, resulting in a highly variable phenotype. In order to specify the bone- and fall related phenotypes at the FLS, systematic studies on the presence and combinations of these risks are needed.

Keywords: Fracture Liaison Service; Fractures; Phenotype; Secondary prevention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype
  • Risk Factors