Predicting Osteoporotic Vertebral Compression Fractures in Women

What factors increase the risk of osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures (OVCFs) in women who have reached menopause? Is there a way to predict fracture risk early on in these women using their clinical histories and the results of a routine screening process?

Lumbar Spine FractureA team led by researchers at Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, Italy, explored this question in a recent study. The study, “Clinical predictors of vertebral osteoporotic fractures in post-menopausal women: a cross-sectional analysis,” was published in September 2012. It appears in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences.

The study authors set out to develop a scoring system that would help physicians gauge the risk of OVCFs in post-menopausal women. To do this, they looked at data on 477 women who visited their home institution. All of the women were of post-menopausal age. To illuminate important risk factors for OVCFs, the researchers isolated 15 clinical variables and compiled data on each.

Some of the studied variables included: women’s age; weight; body mass index; smoking behavior; level of alcohol consumption; femoral neck bone mineral density (BMD), L1-L4 lumbar T-Score, BMD, and Z-Score; L4 vertebral volume; and femoral neck T-score, Z-Score, and BMD.

The study sample was split into 2 groups: a derivation cohort and a validation cohort. The researchers used a logistic regression model to develop a scoring system that could predict OVCFs in the derivation cohort. The scoring system was then tested in the validation group.

The results showed that the following factors were predictive of OVCFs in the study participants: age, smoking behavior, L1-L4 lumbar T-score, L4 vertebral volume, and femoral neck T-Score.

The researchers conclude that their simple scoring system may be useful in helping doctors estimate the risk of osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures in women who have reached menopause.

Updated on: 08/25/16
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