We performed a retrospective study to assess if vertebral fracture assessment (VFA) after routine bone mineral density (BMD) measurement on a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) machine had increased the number of patients diagnosed with osteoporosis and revealed previous unknown incident vertebral fractures. A total of 3275 patients were referred to bone densitometry by DXA to be screened for osteoporosis or evaluation of ongoing antiosteoporotic treatment. All spine X-rays obtained at our hospital from the same patients in the period from 3 mo before to 3 mo after the date of DXA scans were reviewed. Among the 3275 patients, 85% were females and 15% were males. In total, 68% of the patients had normal BMD, and 32% had osteoporosis. Vertebral fractures diagnosed by VFA were seen in 7.9% patients, of which 3.2% had normal BMD and 4.8% had osteoporosis assessed by BMD. The relative number of patients diagnosed with osteoporosis increased 9.79% and in absolute terms from 32.4% to 35.6% of patients referred to DXA. Addition of VFA to routine BMD measurement increased clinically significant the number of patients diagnosed with osteoporosis as well as the number of patients with fractures and thereby altered the severity and prognosis.
Journal of Clinical Densitometry, 2014, Vol 16, Issue 4, p. 549-553