Sites, frequencies, and causes of self-reported fractures in Japanese patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were evaluated in a prospective, observational cohort study. The incidence and cause of fracture differ by anatomical site, sex, and age. These differences may be considered in establishing custom strategies for preventing fractures in RA patients in the future. Purpose: The literature contains limited data describing the details of fractures at different skeletal sites in patients with RA. Methods: We evaluated the details of fractures in Japanese RA patients on the basis of our Institute of Rheumatology Rheumatoid Arthritis cohort study in 9,720 RA patients (82 % women; mean age, 56 years) who were enrolled from 2000 to 2010. The details of fractures were obtained through biannual patient self-report questionnaires. Results: Over a mean duration of 5.2 years, 1,317 patients (13.5 %) reported 2,323 incident fractures comprising 563 (24.2 %) clinical vertebral fractures and 1,760 (75.8 %) nonvertebral fractures. Rib fractures were the most common fractures in men, followed by clinical vertebral and hip fractures; the most common fractures in women were clinical vertebral fractures, followed by rib, foot, and hip fractures. There was a significant difference between sexes in the rates of rib, clavicle, shoulder, and ankle fractures. Spontaneous event was the primary cause of clinical vertebral fracture (65.4 %), whereas falls were the primary cause of upper extremity (76.5 %) and lower extremity (57.8 %) fractures. Rates of clinical vertebral and hip fractures increased, while those of rib and foot fractures decreased with increasing age. Incidence of falls, as causes of nonvertebral fractures, also increased in older age groups. Conclusion: Our results suggest that the causes of fractures may differ depending on anatomical site and that prevention of falls may be the most effective way to reduce upper and lower extremity fractures, especially in older patients with RA.
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