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Osteoporos Int. 1999;10(1):26-33.

Time since vertebral fracture: an important variable concerning quality of life in patients with postmenopausal osteoporosis.

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  • 1Institute of Clinical Osteology 'Gustav Pommer' and Clinic 'Der F├╝rstenhof', Bad Pyrmont, Germany.


The aim of the study was to identify factors affecting patients with postmenopausal osteoporosis who had experienced one or more vertebral fractures. The overall hypothesis was that time after fracture would influence patients' perception of pain and well-being. The sample (50 patients) was split into two groups (group A, time after fracture < or > 24 months; group B, time after fracture >24 months). A fracture was defined as a vertebral height reduction of more than 20% or at least 4 mm. The assessment was carried out using the Spine Deformity Index and was confirmed by an experienced radiologist. To assess quality of life (QoL) the following measures were used: 'well-being scale' including social extroversion as a subscale, pain scale, and limitations in everyday life. The Sense of Coherence questionnaire developed by Antonovsky measures the ability of a person to see life meaningful, manageable and explicable. This questionnaire may reflect patients' coping abilities and was introduced to establish whether these influence the perception of pain and well-being after vertebral fracture. Variance and covariance analysis was carried out using SPSS (version 6.1). Differences between groups A and B were found for perception of average pain (p = 0.017), social extroversion (p = 0.003) and well-being (p = 0.024). No differences were found for limitations in everyday life (p = 0.607), Sense of Coherence (p = 0.638), the Spine Deformity Index (p = 0.171) and loss of height (p = 0.619). All analyses were corrected for age. Concurrent medication was not found to influence the results. Findings suggest that time after fracture is an important variable when considering QoL and well-being after vertebral fracture and should, therefore, be considered in future studies.

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