Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Common blood thinner increases risk of bone fracture

24.01.2006


Elderly patients taking the commonly prescribed blood thinner warfarin experience an increased risk for osteoporosis-linked bone fractures, according to a study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The results suggest physicians should carefully monitor the bone health of patients placed on the medication and that their patients should take steps to decrease the risk of osteoporosis.



Warfarin, also known by the brand-name Coumadin®, is often given to patients with atrial fibrillation, irregular contractions of the upper chambers of the heart. By interfering with vitamin K’s role in clotting, the drug decreases formation of blood clots, which often accompany atrial fibrillation.

But because vitamin K also interacts with osteocalcin--a protein vital for bone formation--warfarin’s antagonism of vitamin K has the potential to affect bone strength as well. Osteoporotic fractures occur when the bones become so weakened that minor trauma causes breakage.


"We did a retrospective study of Medicare records for about 15,000 patients hospitalized with atrial fibrillation, and we identified fractures related to osteoporosis," says lead author Brian Gage, M.D., associate professor of medicine and medical director of Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s Blood Thinner Clinic. "Our analysis showed that long-term use of warfarin--longer than one year-- led to a 25 percent increase in the incidence of fracture."

The study included about an equal number of men and women with an average age of 80. In the general population, 80 percent of those affected by osteoporosis are women, and women in this study were more likely to have an osteoporotic fracture than were men. But the women’s risk of fracture did not increase by a statistically meaningful amount on long-term warfarin therapy. However, men in the study who took warfarin for more than a year had a 63 percent higher incidence of fracture than men who did not take the blood thinner.

Patients taking warfarin for less than one year did not have increased fracture risk, and patients taking beta-blockers had fewer fractures than patients not taking beta-blockers.

More than half of the fractures seen in the study group were hip fractures. The rest involved the spine and wrist. Osteoporotic fractures often result in lost mobility and death in many cases. In the study group, 39 percent of patients with hip fractures died within 30 days, with substantial mortality evidenced for other types of osteoporotic fractures as well.

"The results of the study have important implications for treatment of atrial fibrillation," Gage says. "To maintain bone strength, elderly patients taking warfarin should exercise regularly and have adequate intakes of calcium and vitamin D. Those who are prone to falling could use walking aids and proper footwear. Smokers should quit, which will decrease their risk of osteoporosis and other diseases."

The study adds to evidence suggesting that vitamin K is important for bone health. Gage says he hopes that anticoagulants that do not inhibit vitamin K will be developed.

Gwen Ericson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wustl.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Early organic carbon got deep burial in mantle

25.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

A room with a view - or how cultural differences matter in room size perception

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Warm winds: New insight into what weakens Antarctic ice shelves

25.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>