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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2012 Sep;51(9):1714-20. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kes126. Epub 2012 Jun 1.

Relationship between vertebral fracture prevalence and abdominal aortic calcification in men.

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Rheumatology Department, Military Hospital Mohammed V, Rabat, Morocco.



To study the relationship between the prevalence of vertebral fractures (VFs) using VF assessment (VFA) in asymptomatic men and the prevalence and severity of abdominal aortic calcification (AAC).


We enrolled 709 men with mean (s.d.) age 62.4 (8.6) (range 45-89) years. Lateral VFA images and scans of the lumbar spine and proximal femur were obtained using a GE Healthcare Lunar Prodigy densitometer. VFs were defined using a combination of the Genant semi-quantitative (SQ) approach and morphometry. VFA images were scored for AAC using a validated 24-point scale.


VFA images showed that 68 (14.2%) of the participants had at least one grade 2/3 VF, 82% did not have any detectable AAC, whereas the prevalence of significant atherosclerotic burden, defined as an AAC score of ≥5, was 2.8%. The group of men with grade 2/3 VFs had a statistically significant higher AAC score and higher proportion of subjects with extended AAC, and lower weight, height and lumbar spine and hip BMD and T-scores than those without a VFA-identified VF. Multiple regression analysis showed that the presence of grade 2/3 VFs was significantly associated with BMI [odds ratio (OR 0.915; 95% CI 0.589, 0.975; P = 0.006], AAC score ≥5 (OR 4.509; 95% CI 1.505, 13.504; P = 0.007) and osteoporosis in any site (OR 5.159; 95% CI 3.116, 8.540; P ≤ 0.0001).


In elderly men, extended AAC is an indicator of the increased risk for prevalent VFs regardless of age, BMI, history of fractures, smoking and BMD.

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