Assessing the contributions of modifiable risk factors to serious falls and fragility fractures among older persons living with HIV

Julie A. Womack, Terrence E. Murphy, Linda Leo-Summers, Jonathan Bates, Samah Jarad, Thomas M. Gill, Evelyn Hsieh, Maria C. Rodriguez-Barradas, Phyllis C. Tien, Michael T. Yin, Cynthia A. Brandt, Amy C. Justice

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Background: Although 50 years represents middle age among uninfected individuals, studies have shown that persons living with HIV (PWH) begin to demonstrate elevated risk for serious falls and fragility fractures in the sixth decade; the proportions of these outcomes attributable to modifiable factors are unknown. Methods: We analyzed 21,041 older PWH on antiretroviral therapy (ART) from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study from 01/01/2010 through 09/30/2015. Serious falls were identified by Ecodes and a machine-learning algorithm applied to radiology reports. Fragility fractures (hip, vertebral, and upper arm) were identified using ICD9 codes. Predictors for both models included a serious fall within the past 12 months, body mass index, physiologic frailty (VACS Index 2.0), illicit substance and alcohol use disorders, and measures of multimorbidity and polypharmacy. We separately fit multivariable logistic models to each outcome using generalized estimating equations. From these models, the longitudinal extensions of average attributable fraction (LE-AAF) for modifiable risk factors were estimated. Results: Key risk factors for both outcomes included physiologic frailty (VACS Index 2.0) (serious falls [15%; 95% CI 14%–15%]; fractures [13%; 95% CI 12%–14%]), a serious fall in the past year (serious falls [7%; 95% CI 7%–7%]; fractures [5%; 95% CI 4%–5%]), polypharmacy (serious falls [5%; 95% CI 4%–5%]; fractures [5%; 95% CI 4%–5%]), an opioid prescription in the past month (serious falls [7%; 95% CI 6%–7%]; fractures [9%; 95% CI 8%–9%]), and diagnosis of alcohol use disorder (serious falls [4%; 95% CI 4%–5%]; fractures [8%; 95% CI 7%–8%]). Conclusions: This study confirms the contributions of risk factors important in the general population to both serious falls and fragility fractures among older PWH. Successful prevention programs for these outcomes should build on existing prevention efforts while including risk factors specific to PWH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1891-1901
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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