The epidemiology and sequelae of morphometric vertebral fracture (MVF) are poorly documented. We found that MVFs of the lower thoracic and lumbar spine were associated with poor quality of life and impaired physical function in men. We recommend that morphometric X-ray absorptiometry be included in routine requests for bone densitometry.
Introduction: Vertebral fractures are sentinel events for osteoporosis. We aimed to compare quality of life and physical function in men with and without MVF.
Methods: Using morphometric X-ray absorptiometry (T10-L4), MVFs were identified in a random sample of men aged 20-93 years. Moderate and severe wedge, biconcave or compression deformities (>25% reduction in any vertebral height) were classified as MVFs.
Results: Of 1,147 men, MVFs were identified in 64. No MVFs were detected for men in their twenties. Prevalence was 1.5% for 30-39 years, 1.4% 40-49 years, 3.2% 50-59 years, 4.7% 60-69 years, 10.0% 70-79 years and 14.6% 80+ years. Among 555 men aged 60+ years, those with MVFs were twice as likely to have quality of life scores in the lowest tertile (age-adjusted OR = 2.35, 95%CI 1.24-4.45). MVFs were associated with lower mean age-adjusted physical activity scores [11.3 (95%CI 9.0-13.8) vs 14.0 (13.2-14.9), P = 0.04] and longer mean age-adjusted 'Up-&-Go' times [9.5 (8.9, 10.1) vs 8.9 (8.8, 9.1) s, P = 0.06].
Conclusion: Despite most men being unaware of their condition, MVFs were associated with poor quality of life and impaired physical function. We recommend that morphometric X-ray absorptiometry be included in routine requests for bone densitometry because detection of MVFs has important implications for osteoporosis management in men.