Objective To examine national estimates of forearm and wrist fractures among adults treated in US emergency departments.
Methods The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System All Injury Program was used to estimate emergency department visits for unintentional fall related forearm and/or wrist fractures among adults aged 50 years or older between 2001 and 2007. Census population estimates were used as the denominator to calculate age-specific and age-adjusted fracture rates per 100 000 persons.
Results Based on 14 771 cases, an estimated 1 045 008 adults aged ≥50 years were treated in US hospital emergency departments for fall related forearm and/or wrist fractures during the study period. Of these, an estimated 832 591 (80%) fractures occurred among women. The incidence of fractures among women increased gradually with age from the age of 50 years. In men, fracture rates remained low until later in life. Between 2001 and 2007, fracture rates increased predominantly among women in the age group 50–59 years at an annual rate of 3.9% (95% CI −0.1 to 8.2).
Conclusions The study indicates marked gender differences in unintentional fall related forearm and/or wrist fractures among adults aged ≥50 years treated in US hospital emergency departments. Interventions aimed at preventing falls might be effective in reducing the incidence of this injury, particularly in those women who already have diminished bone mineral.
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