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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.


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.
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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