Age-specific occurrence of pathological fractures in patients with spina bifida

Niko Aliatakis, Joanna Schneide, Birgit Spors, Naomi Mohr, Susanne Lebek, Ulrich Seidel, Katharina C Trojan, Angela M Kaindl

Pathological fractures (PFs) are common in patients with spina bifida. However, most previous studies refer to the overall fracture rate and largely neglecting putative age-dependent aspects. The aim of this retrospective study was to characterize patterns of fracture occurrence in childhood. In a retrospective study, we identified PF, all in the lower limbs, in 13% of 210 patients with spina bifida aperta. We further identified a bimodal frequency distribution of pathological fractures, with peaks at 1–5 and 10–12 years. We could thereby distinguish two groups of patients: (i) Children with a first fracture before an age of 6 years developed frequently multiple fractures within the following years, but fracture series typically stopped by 6 years-of-age. (ii) Children with a first fracture after the age of 6 years had fewer fractures, but these occurred also in adolescence. PF occurred rarely after the age of 13 years. The age at fracture correlated with the fracture site with 85% of the fractures occurring in the femur in the first five years of life and an increased frequency of tibia and foot fractures later in life. While, overall high lesion levels and preceding immobilizing events were risk factors for PF, femur fractures in children under 6 years-of-age occurred independent of their lesion level, and the age at verticalization did not correlate with PF rates.

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age-specific differencesmyelomeningoceleosteoporosispathological fracturesSpina bifida
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