In the placebo group of the MORE study, including 2576 postmenopausal women (mean age, 66.5 years), the authors describe a strong linear association between the severity grade of osteoporosis (from low BMD to presence of severe vertebral fractures) and the future risk of cardiovascular events. Accordingly, treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis should include consideration of measures to prevent adverse cardiovascular outcomes.
Introduction: Observations indicate an inverse association between BMD and the severity of peripheral atherosclerosis in postmenopausal women. The predictive value of osteoporosis and its different severity stages for the risk of acute cardiovascular events remains unknown.
Materials and methods: Participants were 2576 women (mean age, 66.5 years) assigned to placebo and followed for 4 years in an osteoporosis treatment trial. Those with at least one vertebral fracture or total hip BMD T score < or = -2.5 at baseline were defined as having osteoporosis, whereas those without vertebral fracture and total hip BMD T score between -2.5 and -1 were defined as having low bone mass. The primary outcome for these posthoc analyses was the incidence of adjudicated fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular events.
Results: After adjustment for potential confounders, women with osteoporosis had a 3.9-fold (95% CI, 2.0-7.7; p < 0.001) increased risk for cardiovascular events compared with women with low bone mass. Under the same boundaries, a total hip BMD T score < or = -2.5 versus a T score between -2.5 and -1 was associated with a 2.1-fold (95% CI, 1.2-3.6; p < 0.01) increase in risk, whereas presence of at least one vertebral fracture versus no vertebral fracture at baseline was associated with a 3.0-fold (95% CI, 1.8-5.1; p < 0.001) increase in risk. The risk of cardiovascular events increased incrementally with the number and increasing severity of baseline vertebral fractures (both p < 0.001).
Conclusions: Postmenopausal women with osteoporosis are at an increased risk for cardiovascular events that is proportional to the severity of osteoporosis at the time of the diagnosis. Treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis should include consideration of measures to prevent cardiovascular outcomes.