Chronic physical health conditions up to five years after serious orthopaedic injury

  • Asmare Yitayeh Gelaw
    School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, 553 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia

    Department of Physiotherapy, School of Medicine, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia
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  • Belinda J. Gabbe
    School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, 553 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia

    Health Data Research UK, Swansea University Medical School, Swansea University, UK
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  • Christina L. Ekegren
    Corresponding author at: Rehabilitation, Ageing and Independent Living (RAIL) Research Centre, School of Primary and Allied Health Care, Monash University Peninsula Campus, Frankston, VIC 3199, Australia.
    School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, 553 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia

    Rehabilitation, Ageing and Independent Living (RAIL) Research Centre, School of Primary and Allied Health Care, Monash University, Australia

    Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Australia

    Alfred Emergency and Trauma Centre, Melbourne, Australia
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Published:February 09, 2022DOI:


      • Chronic physical health conditions are prevalent among people with serious orthopaedic injuries up to five years post-injury.
      • Cancer, cardiovascular disease and hypertension are the three most common conditions.
      • Older adults, women, smokers, people with mental health and alcohol and drug-related conditions had a higher risk of admission/ presentation with new-onset conditions post-injury.



      Information about the prevalence of chronic physical health conditions following serious orthopaedic injury is currently lacking in the general population and is essential for quantifying the burden of injury and improving outcomes.


      To determine the prevalence of chronic physical health conditions recorded within hospitalisations and emergency department presentations and associated factors five years following serious orthopaedic injury.


      We conducted a registry-based cohort study using data from the Victorian State Trauma Registry (2007–2016) linked with hospital admissions and ED presentations for 16,249 adults with serious orthopaedic injuries. We considered that people who were admitted to hospital or presented to an emergency department with a chronic physical health condition one to five years post-injury had “new-onset” conditions. We applied Kaplan-Meier failure curves and Cox proportional hazard regression models to determine factors associated with new-onset conditions.


      There were 1420 people (11.0%) with at least one new-onset condition. Cancer (6.1%), cardiovascular disease (5.1%) and hypertension (6.2%) were the three most common “new-onset” chronic physical health conditions. Older adults, women, smokers, and people with mental health and alcohol and drug-related conditions had a higher risk of hospitalisation or emergency department presentation with new-onset conditions post-injury.


      People with serious orthopaedic injuries experienced a significant additional burden of chronic physical health conditions up to five years after serious orthopaedic injury, posing a new challenge to post-trauma care. Early preventive interventions may be required in people with serious orthopaedic injuries to minimise modifiable risk factors such as smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol or drug use.


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