Factors associated with proximal femur fracture determined in a large cadaveric cohort

Dan Dragomir-Daescu, Timothy L. Rossman, Asghar Rezaei, Kent D. Carlson, David F. Kallmes, John A. Skinner, Sundeep Khosla, Shreyasee Amin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Many researchers have used cadaveric fracture tests to determine the relationship between proximal femur (hip) fracture strength and a multitude of possible explanatory variables, typically considered one or two at a time. These variables include subject-specific proximal femur variables such as femoral neck areal bone mineral density (aBMD), sex, age, and geometry, as well as physiological hip fracture event variables such as fall speed and angle of impact. However, to our knowledge, no study has included all of these variables simultaneously in the same experimental dataset. To address this gap, the present study simultaneously included all of these subject-specific and fracture event variables in multivariate models to understand their contributions to femoral strength and fracture type. The primary aim of this study was to determine not only whether each of these variables contributed to the prediction of femoral strength, but also to determine the relative importance of each variable in strength prediction. A secondary aim was to similarly characterize the importance of these variables for the prediction of fracture type. To accomplish these aims, we characterized 197 proximal femurs (covering a wide range of subject-specific variables) with DXA and CT scans, and then tested the femurs to fracture in a sideways fall on the hip configuration. Each femur was tested using one of three fall speed conditions and one of four angles of impact (bone orientations). During each test, we acquired measurements of relevant force and displacement data. We then reduced the test data to determine femoral strength, and we used post-fracture CT scans to classify the fracture type (e.g., trochanteric, cervical). Using these results, the explanatory variables were analyzed with mixed statistical models to explain variations in hip fracture strength and fracture type, respectively. Five explanatory variables were statistically significant in explaining the variability in femoral strength: aBMD, sex, age, fall speed, and neck-shaft angle (P ≤ 0.0135). These five variables, including significant interactions, explained 80% of the variability in hip fracture strength. Additionally, when only aBMD, sex, and age (P < 0.0001) were considered in the model, again including significant interactions, these three variables alone explained 79% of the variability in hip fracture strength. So while fall speed (P = 0.0135) and neck-shaft angle (P = 0.0041) were statistically significant, the inclusion of these variables did not appreciably improve the prediction of hip fracture strength compared to the model that considered only aBMD, sex and age. For the variables we included in this study, in the ranges we considered, our findings indicate that the clinically-available information of patient age, sex and aBMD are sufficient for femoral strength assessment. These findings also suggest that there is little value in the extra effort required to characterize the effect of femoral geometry on strength, or to account for the probabilistic nature of fall-related factors such as fall speed and angle of impact. For fracture type, the only explanatory variable found to be significant was aBMD (P ≤ 0.0099). We found that the odds of having intertrochanteric fractures increased by 47% when aBMD decreased by one standard deviation (0.2 g/cm2).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-202
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Bone biomechanics
  • Bone testing speed
  • Femoral orientation
  • Fracture type
  • Hip fracture
  • Proximal femur strength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Histology


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