, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 274-280

Combination of bone mineral density and upper femur geometry improves the prediction of hip fracture

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Bone mineral density (BMD) measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is the main determinant of the clinical evaluation of hip fracture risk. However, it has been shown that BMD is not the only predictive factor for hip fracture, but that bone geometry is also important. We studied whether the combination of bone geometry and BMD could further improve the determination of hip fracture risk and fracture type. Seventy-four postmenopausal females (mean age 74 years) with a non-pathologic cervical or trochanteric hip fracture without previous hip fracture or hip surgery constituted the study group. Forty-nine had a cervical fracture (mean age 73 years) and 25 had a trochanteric fracture (mean age 76 years). The control group consisted of 40 age-matched females (mean age 74 years). The geometrical parameters were defined from plain anteroposterior radiographs, and the potential sources of inaccuracy were eliminated as far as possible by using a standardized patient position and calibrated dimension measurements with digital image analysis. BMD was measured at the femoral neck (FEBMD), Ward’s triangle (WABMD), and the trochanter (TRBMD). Stepwise linear regression analysis showed that the best predictor of hip fracture was the combination of medial calcar femoral cortex width (CFC), TRBMD, neck/shaft angle (NSA), and WABMD (r=0.72, r 2=0.52, P<0.001). The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) for this model was 0.93, while the area under ROC for TRBMD alone was 0.81. At a specificity of 80%, sensitivity improved from 52.5% to 92.5% with this combination compared with TRBMD alone. The combined predictors of cervical and trochanteric fracture differed, being NSA, CFC, TRBMD, and WABMD for cervical and TRBMD and femoral shaft cortical thickness for trochanteric fracture. In addition, we found a statistically significant correlation between FEBMD and femoral shaft and femoral neck cortex width (r=0.40, P<0.01 and r=0.30, P<0.01, respectively). The results confirm that the combination of BMD and radiological measures of upper femur geometry improve the assessment of the risk of hip fracture and fracture type compared to BMD alone, and that bone geometry plays an important role in the evaluation of bone strength.