Diagnosis of Osteoporotic Vertebral Fractures: Importance of Recognition and Description by Radiologists

Leon Lenchik; Lee F. Rogers; Pierre D. Delmas; Harry K. Genant

Disclosures

Am J Roentgenol. 2004;183(4) 

In This Article

Clinical Consequences of Vertebral Fractures

Increasing evidence[9–16] indicates that quality of life is diminished in patients with vertebral fractures. Loss of physical function in patients after vertebral fracture is substantial and comparable to that of hip fracture.[9–11] Patients with vertebral fractures often have difficulty with activities of daily living such as rising from a chair, bathing, dressing, cooking, climbing stairs, and walking.[9–11] In addition, vertebral fractures are commonly associated with chronic back pain, limitation of spine mobility, reduction in pulmonary function, and social isolation.[12–16]

Even asymptomatic vertebral fractures have significant consequences for the patient because of the increased risk of future fractures that may be symptomatic. Existence of one previous vertebral fracture increases the risk for subsequent vertebral fracture approximately fivefold and the risk of hip fracture approximately threefold.[27–29] Furthermore, the mortality rate associated with vertebral fractures is increased for both symptomatic (i.e., clinical) and asymptomatic (i.e., radiographic) fractures[30–34] and, in some studies,[30,35] approaches that for hip fracture.

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