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Vol 60, No 2 (2009)
Original paper
Published online: 2009-03-27

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Identification of vertebral deformities in the Polish population by morphometric X-ray absorptiometry - results of the EPOLOS study

Elżbieta Skowrońska-Jóźwiak, Paweł Płudowski, Elżbieta Karczmarewicz, Roman Lorenc, Andrzej Lewiński, EPOLOS Group
Endokrynol Pol 2009;60(2):68-75.

Abstract


Introduction: The aim of the study was the determination of the prevalence of asymptomatic vertebral deformities in healthy persons of the Polish population, based on morphometric X-ray absorptiometry (MXA), and comparison of the results with data from literature, obtained by other techniques.
Material and methods: The study involved 829 persons, including 520 women and 309 men, aged 18-79 years, untreated for osteoporosis before. The Th4 to L4 vertebrae were examined. Lateral scans of the thoracic-lumbar spine were made by an Expert-XL densitometer. Sixpoint digitization was used to calculate the anterior (Ha), central (Hc), and posterior (Hp) height of the Th4-L4 vertebral bodies. The vertebrae were defined as having prevalent deformities when at least one ratio value (Ha/Hp, Hc/Hp, Hp/Hp up, or Hp/Hp low) fell 3 SDs below or even more than the reference mean of that ratio at any vertebral level.
Results: The analysis was performed on 9629 vertebrae, of which 167 (1.75%), evaluated as deformed and considered as fractures, were observed in 113 patients (13.63 % of the examined patients). In 81 persons (74% of the patients with fractures; 9.7% of the studied population), single fractures were demonstrated, while in 28 persons, multiple deformities prevailed. Fractures occurred in 108 women (20.7% of the examined women) and 42 men (13.5% of the examined men). The highest incidence of deformities was observed in women over 55 years of age. First-degree deformities dominated. Deformities of the Th8 and Th6 vertebrae were most frequently observed.
Conclusions:
1. Using MXA, it was found that in the Polish population deformities of vertebrae are common, as was demonstrated in X-ray morphometric studies in the European Vertebral Observation Study (EVOS).
2. Densitometric morphometry, as a non-invasive technique, may become a useful tool in the diagnostics of vertebral fractures.

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