, Volume 57, Issue 3, pp 169-174

Influence of degenerative joint disease on spinal bone mineral measurements in postmenopausal women

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We assessed the impact of various forms of spinal degenerative joint disease (DJD) on bone mineral density (BMD) measured by quantitative computed tomography (QCT) and dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in a group of postmenopausal women. Lateral (T4-L4) and AP (L1-L4) spinal radiographs were reviewed for fracture and DJD in 209 women (mean age 62.6±6.7). The severity of DJD findings was graded as 0,1, or 2 on the lumbar films, except for vertebral osteophytes which were graded from 0 to 3. Vertebral fractures were defined semiquantitatively as approximately 20% reduction in anterior, middle, or posterior vertebral height. BMD was measured in all subjects by QCT and DXA, including posteroanterior DXA (PA-DXA), lateral DXA (L-DXA) and midlateral DXA (mL-DXA). When BMD was measured by QCT and mL-DXA in the 168 women without fractures, no significant differences were found between women with and those without DJD. However, BMD by PA-DXA was significantly higher in women with DJD changes, particularly when osteophytes were present at the vertebral bodies or facet joints. BMD by L-DXA was less affecied by DJD. For this measurement a significant increase in BMD was only noted in subjects with vertebral osteophytes. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) showed that BMD by QCT and mL-DXA was not affected by DJD. In contrast, for all women, BMD by PA-and L-DXA was affected more by DJD than by fracture status. Chi-square testing demonstrated no significant relationships between vertebral fractures and any of the DJD changes. We conclude that QCT and mL-DXA are superior to PA-DXA and L-DXA in detecting bone loss in patients with DJD. Thus, for these patients, BMD assessment by QCT or mL-DXA may be advisable.