The risk and burden of vertebral fractures in Sweden


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.

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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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Correspondence to J. A. Kanis.

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Kanis, J.A., Johnell, O., Oden, A. et al. The risk and burden of vertebral fractures in Sweden. Osteoporos Int 15, 20–26 (2004).

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  • Burden of fracture
  • Osteoporotic fracture
  • Utility
  • Vertebral fracture