There is little information on how the COVID-19 lockdown influenced the epidemiology of major osteoporotic fractures (MOF). We analyzed the incidence and mortality of MOF in 2020 compared with 2018–2019 in Catalonia, Spain. The incidence of MOF decreased steeply, and post-fracture mortality increased during the lockdown and throughout 2020.
To analyze the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown on major osteoporotic fracture (MOF) incidence and mortality in Catalonia in 2020 and describe how age, sex, and the prior comorbidity burden influenced the epidemiology of MOF types.
In this retrospective observational study, data on age and sex in people aged ≥ 50 years with a new diagnosis of MOF in 2018, 2019, and 2020 were collected. Average daily rates (ADR) were estimated overall and for five MOF: hip, distal forearm, proximal humerus, vertebrae, and pelvis. Morbidity was assessed using Adjusted Morbidity Groups. ADR in 2020 and the previous years were compared for overall and site-specific MOF in four consecutive time periods: pre-confinement, lockdown, deconfinement, and post-confinement. Thirty-day post-fracture mortality was assessed. COVID-19-related mortality was obtained from the Catalan COVID-19 register.
From 2018 to 2020, there were 86,412 MOF. The ADR of MOF initially increased in 2020 before the pandemic, decreased steeply during lockdown, and remained lower in the rest of the year. The decrease was steeper in vertebral, pelvic and arm fractures, and lower in hip fractures. Differences were more pronounced in younger age groups and people with fewer comorbidities. Mortality increased throughout 2020, reaching a 2.5-fold increase during lockdown. Excess mortality was directly associated with COVID-19.
Mobility restrictions due to COVID-19 were associated with a reduction in MOF incidence in Catalonia, especially in younger people and in non-hip fractures. Post-fracture mortality was higher than in previous years due to the high COVID-19 mortality in the elderly.