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Osteoporos Int. 2011 Feb;22(2):711-9. doi: 10.1007/s00198-010-1258-6. Epub 2010 May 5.

Prevalence and risk factors of radiographic vertebral fracture in Brazilian community-dwelling elderly.

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  • 1Bone Metabolism Laboratory, Rheumatology Division, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Dr. Arnaldo, 455, 3° andar, sala 3105, São Paulo, SP, 01246-903, Brazil.


The prevalence and risk factors of radiographic vertebral fracture were determined among Brazilian community-dwelling elderly. Vertebral fractures were a common condition in this elderly population, and lower hip bone mineral density was a significant risk factor for vertebral fractures in both genders.


The aim of the study was to estimate the prevalence of radiographic vertebral fracture and investigate factors associated with this condition in Brazilian community-dwelling elderly.


This cross-sectional study included 943 elderly subjects (561 women and 382 men) living in São Paulo, Brazil. Thoracic and lumbar spine radiographs were obtained, and vertebral fractures were evaluated using Genant's semiquantitative method. Bone mineral density (BMD) was measured by dual X-ray absorptiometry, and bone biochemical markers were also evaluated. Female and male subjects were analyzed independently, and each gender was divided into two groups based on whether vertebral fractures were present.


The prevalence of vertebral fracture was 27.5% (95% CI 23.8-31.1) in women and 31.8% in men (95% CI 27.1-36.5) (P = 0.116). Cox regression analyses using variables that were significant in the univariate analysis showed that age (prevalence ratio = 1.03, 95% CI 1.01-1.06; p = 0.019) and total femur BMD (PR = 0.27, 95% CI 0.08-0.98; p = 0.048) were independent factors in predicting vertebral fracture for the female group. In the male group, Cox regression analyses demonstrated that femoral neck BMD (PR = 0.26, 95% CI 0.07-0.98; p = 0.046) was an independent parameter in predicting vertebral fractures.


Our results suggest that radiographic vertebral fractures are common in Brazilian community-dwelling elderly and that a low hip BMD was an important risk factor for this condition in both genders. Age was also significantly correlated with the presence of vertebral fractures in women.

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