Osteoporosis International

, Volume 25, Issue 9, pp 2263–2269 | Cite as

Role of bone mineral density in predicting morphometric vertebral fractures in patients with HIV infection

  • T. Porcelli
  • D. Gotti
  • A. Cristiano
  • F. Maffezzoni
  • G. Mazziotti
  • E. Focà
  • F. Castelli
  • A. Giustina
  • E. Quiros-Roldan
Original Article



This study investigated the bone of HIV patients both in terms of quantity and quality. It was found that HIV-infected patients did fracture independently of the degree of bone demineralization as in other forms of secondary osteoporosis.


We aimed to determine the prevalence of vertebral fractures (VFs) in HIV patients who were screened by bone mineral density (BMD) and to explore possible factors associated with VFs.


This is a cross-sectional study that included HIV-infected patients recruited in the Clinic of Infectious and Tropical Diseases and that underwent BMD measurement by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) at the lumbar spine and hip (Lunar Prodigy, GE Healthcare). For the assessment of VFs, anteroposterior and lateral X-ray examinations of the thoracic and lumbar spines were performed and were centrally digitized. Logistic regression models were used in the statistical analysis of factors associated with VFs.


One hundred thirty-one consecutive patients with HIV infection (93 M, 38 F, median age 51 years; range, 36-75) underwent BMD measurement: 25.2 % of patients showed normal BMD, while 45 % were osteopenic and 29.7 % osteoporotic. Prevalence of low BMD (osteopenia and osteoporosis) was higher in females as compared to males (90 vs 69 %) with no significant correlation with age and body mass index. VFs occurred more frequently in patients with low BMD as compared to patients with normal BMD (88.5 vs. 11.4 %; p < 0.001) without any significant difference between osteopenia and osteoporosis (43 vs. 46 %; p = 0.073). VFs were significantly associated with older age and previous AIDS events.


These results suggest a BMD <−1 threshold to identify patients at risk of skeletal fragility and, therefore, good candidates for morphometric evaluation of spine X-ray in line with other forms of secondary osteoporosis with impaired bone quality.


Antiretroviral therapy HIV Osteoporosis Vertebral fracture 


Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Porcelli
    • 1
  • D. Gotti
    • 2
  • A. Cristiano
    • 1
  • F. Maffezzoni
    • 1
  • G. Mazziotti
    • 1
  • E. Focà
    • 2
  • F. Castelli
    • 2
  • A. Giustina
    • 1
  • E. Quiros-Roldan
    • 2
  1. 1.Chair of EndocrinologyUniversity of BresciaBresciaItaly
  2. 2.Division of Infectious and Tropical DiseasesUniversity of BresciaBresciaItaly

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