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Bone. 2008 Sep;43(3):544-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2008.05.008. Epub 2008 May 19.

Vertebral fracture assessment in healthy men: prevalence and risk factors.

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  • 1Rheumatology and Physical Rehabilitation Department, Military Hospital Mohammed V, PO Box: 1018, Rabat, Morocco.



Vertebral fracture assessment (VFA) is a technology that can reliably and accurately diagnose vertebral fractures with greater patient convenience, less radiation exposure, and lower cost than standard spine radiography.


To study prevalence and risk factors of vertebral fractures using VFA in healthy men.


The study cohort consists of a population of 216 healthy men aged between 50 and 79 (mean age, weight and BMI of 63.8 years, 73.3 kg and 25.7 kg/m2, respectively). Lateral VFA images and scans of the lumbar spine and proximal femur were obtained by two technologists using a GE Healthcare Lunar Prodigy densitometer. Vertebral fractures were defined using a combination of Genant semiquantitative (SQ) approach and morphometry.


Ninety-three percent of vertebrae from T4-L4 and 98% from T8-L4 were adequately visualized on VFA. Vertebral fractures were detected in 29.6% (64/216) of these men: 34/216 (15.7%) had grade 1 and 30/216 (13.8%) had grades 2 or 3. Twenty one of men with VFA-identified fracture (32.8%) had only a single vertebral fracture, while the other 67.2% had two or more. Fractures were most common in the mid-thoracic spine and at the thoraco-lumbar junction. As would be expected, the prevalence of VFA-detected fractures increased with age and as BMD declined. This group of men had a statistically significant lower weight, height, calcium consumption and T-score than those without a VFA-identified vertebral fracture. Regression analysis showed that presence of vertebral fracture was mainly related to the osteoporotic status (OR: 9.0; 95% CI: 3.5-22.8).


VFA allows evaluation of the majority of vertebral bodies in men. Vertebral fractures are common in healthy men and are related to low BMD.

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