Osteoporotic fracture risk in elderly women: estimation with quantitative heel US and clinical risk factors

Radiology. 2008 Jul;248(1):179-84. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2481070986. Epub 2008 May 15.


Purpose: To derive a prediction rule by using prospectively obtained clinical and bone ultrasonographic (US) data to identify elderly women at risk for osteoporotic fractures.

Materials and methods: The study was approved by the Swiss Ethics Committee. A prediction rule was computed by using data from a 3-year prospective multicenter study to assess the predictive value of heel-bone quantitative US in 6174 Swiss women aged 70-85 years. A quantitative US device to calculate the stiffness index at the heel was used. Baseline characteristics, known risk factors for osteoporosis and fall, and the quantitative US stiffness index were used to elaborate a predictive rule for osteoporotic fracture. Predictive values were determined by using a univariate Cox model and were adjusted with multivariate analysis.

Results: There were five risk factors for the incidence of osteoporotic fracture: older age (>75 years) (P < .001), low heel quantitative US stiffness index (<78%) (P < .001), history of fracture (P = .001), recent fall (P = .001), and a failed chair test (P = .029). The score points assigned to these risk factors were as follows: age, 2 (3 if age > 80 years); low quantitative US stiffness index, 5 (7.5 if stiffness index < 60%); history of fracture, 1; recent fall, 1.5; and failed chair test, 1. The cutoff value to obtain a high sensitivity (90%) was 4.5. With this cutoff, 1464 women were at lower risk (score, <4.5) and 4710 were at higher risk (score, >or=4.5) for fracture. Among the higher-risk women, 6.1% had an osteoporotic fracture, versus 1.8% of women at lower risk. Among the women who had a hip fracture, 90% were in the higher-risk group.

Conclusion: A prediction rule obtained by using quantitative US stiffness index and four clinical risk factors helped discriminate, with high sensitivity, women at higher versus those at lower risk for osteoporotic fracture.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Comorbidity
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology*
  • Fractures, Spontaneous / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fractures, Spontaneous / epidemiology*
  • Heel / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Osteoporosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Osteoporosis / epidemiology*
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Switzerland
  • Ultrasonography / statistics & numerical data*