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Osteoporos Int. 2014 May;25(5):1455-64. doi: 10.1007/s00198-014-2628-2. Epub 2014 Mar 6.

Prevalence of vertebral fractures and minor vertebral deformities evaluated by DXA-assisted vertebral fracture assessment (VFA) in a population-based study of postmenopausal women: the FRODOS study.

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Rheumatology Unit, Hospital General de Vic, C/ Francesc Pla, 1, 08500, Vic, Barcelona, Spain,


Population-based studies performed with vertebral fracture assessment (VFA) morphometric technology are lacking in postmenopausal osteoporosis. In this study, we show a lower than expected prevalence of vertebral fractures, a high prevalence of minor vertebral deformities, and a clear association with clinical and densitometric parameters indicating the usefulness of this approach.


Adequate epidemiological data on the prevalence of vertebral fractures (VF) is essential in studies of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Routine DXA-assisted VFA may be useful to determine the presence of VF. However, population-based studies performed with this technology are lacking. We aimed to assess the prevalence of VF and minor deformities in 2,968 postmenopausal women aged 59-70 years from a population-based cohort.


VFA and bone mineral density (BMD) measurements were conducted, and McCloskey criteria (vertebral heights under 3 SD from reference values) confirmed with the Genant method were used to define VF. Additionally, minor vertebral deformities (vertebral heights between -2 and -2.99 SD) were evaluated.


The prevalence of VF was 4.3%, and 17% of the participants had minor vertebral deformities. Low BMD was frequently observed in women with VF, with 4%, and 42% of participants showing osteoporosis and osteopenia. Minor vertebral deformities were observed in nearly 40% of women with VF. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that age, history of previous fracture, osteoporotic BMD, receiving anti-osteoporotic treatment, and current use of glucocorticoids were significantly associated with VF.


Although the VFA approach showed a lower than expected prevalence of VF in our cohort, its association with clinical and densitometric parameters may be useful to identify women at risk for developing fragility fractures and may therefore justify its use in longitudinal studies. The high prevalence of minor vertebral deformities detected in patients with VF indicates the need to evaluate this type of deformity as a risk factor for further skeletal fractures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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