Osteoporosis International

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 20–26 | Cite as

The risk and burden of vertebral fractures in Sweden

  • J. A. Kanis
  • O. Johnell
  • A. Oden
  • F. Borgstrom
  • N. Zethraeus
  • C. De Laet
  • B. Jonsson
Original Article


The aim of this study was to determine the risk and burden of vertebral fractures judged as those coming to clinical attention and as morphometric fractures. Incidence and utility loss were computed from data from Malmo, Sweden. Clinical fractures accounted for 23% of all vertebral deformities in women and for 42% in men. The average 10-year fracture probability for morphometric fractures increased with age in men from 2.9% at the age of 50 years (7.2% in women) to 8.4 at the age of 85 years (26.7% in women). As expected, probabilities increased with decreasing T-score for hip BMD. Cumulative utility loss from a clinical vertebral fracture was substantial and was 50–62% of that due to a hip fracture depending on age. When incidence of fractures in the population was weighted by disutility, all spine fractures accounted for more morbidity than hip fracture up to the age of 75 years. We conclude that vertebral fractures have a major personal and societal impact that needs to be recognised in algorithms for assessment of risk and in health economic strategies for osteoporosis.


Burden of fracture Osteoporotic fracture Utility Vertebral fracture 



We are grateful to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, the International Society for Clinical Densitometry, the Alliance for Better Bone Health, Hologic, IGEA, Lilly, Lunar, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche and Wyeth for their unrestricted support of these studies.


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. A. Kanis
    • 1
  • O. Johnell
    • 2
  • A. Oden
    • 3
  • F. Borgstrom
    • 4
  • N. Zethraeus
    • 4
  • C. De Laet
    • 5
  • B. Jonsson
    • 4
  1. 1.Centre for Metabolic Bone Diseases (WHO Collaborating Centre)University of Sheffield Medical SchoolSheffieldUK
  2. 2.Department of OrthopaedicsMalmo General HospitalMalmoSweden
  3. 3.GothenburgSweden
  4. 4.Department of EconomicsStockholm School of EconomicsStockholmSweden
  5. 5.Department of Public HealthErasmus Medical CenterRotterdamThe Netherlands

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