Purpose of the Report
Reduced bone mineral density is a major public health dilemma with high prevalence. Vertebral fracture (VF) is an independent risk factor for fragility fracture. Lateral vertebral assessment (LVA) in dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry is a reliable, low-radiation, accurate, and cost-effective method for VF assessment.
Patients and Methods
Five hundred seventy-five scans of oncologic and nononcologic patients were retrospectively reviewed irrespective of age or sex. Patients’ symptoms, bone mineral density, and risk factors were also evaluated. Scans in which LVA was not acquired or had previously known VFs were excluded.
The mean age of patients was 66 ± 11.5 years. Eleven percent of patients had VFs on LVA, of which 7 were excluded due to known VFs. Ten percent had new VFs, most of whom were women (n = 42). The most common risk factor was secondary osteoporosis in women and rheumatoid arthritis in men. Sixty-eight percent of the patients had solitary fractures, whereas 32% had multiple fractures. Most of these patients had underlying osteopenia (n = 19). FRAX was calculated twice: once with the history of personal fracture marked and the other time unmarked as these would not have been discovered if LVA was not acquired. Statistically significant mean percent difference of 5.4% was found in probability of major osteoporotic fracture and 2.1% in the mean risk of hip fracture.
In our population, 10% patients had unsuspected VFs on LVA in dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scan. Most of these were nononcologic patients with associated risk factors. Based on the FRAX tool, there is a significant difference in the 10-year risk of fracture when unsuspected fractures discovered on LVA are marked.