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Maturitas. 2009 Feb 20;62(2):171-5. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2008.11.020. Epub 2009 Jan 6.

Vertebral fracture assessment in Moroccan women: prevalence and risk factors.

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Rheumatology and Physical Rehabilitation Department, Military Hospital Mohammed V, Rabat, Morocco.



Vertebral fracture assessment (VFA) is a fast, low-radiation technique which produces images that are of sufficient quality to be used to diagnose the presence of vertebral deformity consistent with fracture.


To study prevalence and risk factors of vertebral fractures using VFA in asymptomatic Moroccan women.


The study cohort consists of a population of 328 consecutive women aged over 50 (mean age, weight and BMI of 65+/-6.5 (50-84) years, 72.0+/-12.8 (42-125) and 29.4+/-5.0 (17.1-45.8)kg/m(2), 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.


68% of vertebrae from T4-L4 and 75% from T8-L4 were adequately visualized on VFA. Vertebral fractures (grades 2 or 3) were detected in 25.6% (84/328) of these women. Thirty-two of women with VFA-identified fracture (38.0%) had only a single vertebral fracture, while the other 61.9% 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. Stepwise regression analysis showed that presence of vertebral fracture was mainly related to the spine osteoporotic status, age older than 65, history of peripheral fracture and more than six parities.


Vertebral fractures are common in asymptomatic Moroccan women and are related to age, low BMD, history of fracture and multiparity.

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