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Vertebral fracture assessment (VFA) in patients over 50 years of age with a non-severe peripheral fracture

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The prevalence of unknown vertebral fractures evaluated by systematic vertebral fracture assessment (VFA) was 21% in patients over 50 years of age who suffered from a recent low-trauma non-severe peripheral fracture. The outcome of VFA resulted in changes in the management of osteoporosis.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the utility of VFA in detecting vertebral fractures (VFs) in patients over 50 years of age, who suffered from a recent low-trauma non-severe peripheral fracture.


This was an observational, single-center, cross-sectional study conducted in patients over 50 years of age, who presented a recent low-trauma non-severe peripheral fracture and were identified by the Fracture Liaison Service (FLS) of Amiens University Hospital between December 2017 and March 2019. VFA was interpreted by two trained rheumatologists providing a consensual reading using Genant semi-quantitative assessment.


Of the 359 eligible patients, 114 patients (31.8%) were included (mean age 65.6 ± 8.4 years; 89.5% female). Twenty-four patients (21%) had one or more VF diagnosed by VFA. The total number of VF diagnosed by VFA was 30: 20 VF (66.7%) grade 1, 7 VF (23.3%) grade 2, and 3 VF (10%) grade 3. Among the 24 patients with at least one prevalent VF diagnosed by VFA, 18 patients had an osteoporosis medication adaptation after the VFA results (16 osteoporosis medication initiation and 2 treatment intensification), and 6 patients would have had an osteoporosis medication even without the VFA results (66.7% versus 33.3% respectively, p < 0.001). Of the 51 patients receiving an osteoporosis medication after DXA and VFA, 18 patients (35.3%) had a change in the management of osteoporosis after knowing the outcome of VFA. All the VFs diagnosed by VFA were unknown before. We did not evidence any threshold (age, T-score, height loss) below which no VF was detected.


Our study demonstrates the usefulness of systematic VFA to detect prevalent VF in patients over 50 years of age who suffer from a recent non-severe peripheral fracture.

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Correspondence to M. Aboudiab.

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Vincent Goëb has received consulting fees from Biogen, AMGEN. Patrice Fardellone has received grants from AMGEN, Lilly, UCB, X. O, Expanscience, Arrow, IPRAD. Maxime Aboudiab, Franck Grados, Benjamin Batteux and Isabelle Henry-Desailly declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Aboudiab, M., Grados, F., Batteux, B. et al. Vertebral fracture assessment (VFA) in patients over 50 years of age with a non-severe peripheral fracture. Osteoporos Int 31, 1477–1486 (2020).

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