Tibial or hip BMD predict clinical fracture risk equally well: results from a prospective study in 700 elderly Swiss women

Osteoporos Int. 2009 Aug;20(8):1393-9. doi: 10.1007/s00198-008-0808-7. Epub 2008 Dec 19.


Summary: In a randomly selected cohort of Swiss community-dwelling elderly women prospectively followed up for 2.8 +/- 0.6 years, clinical fractures were assessed twice yearly. Bone mineral density (BMD) measured at tibial diaphysis (T-DIA) and tibial epiphysis (T-EPI) using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was shown to be a valid alternative to lumbar spine or hip BMD in predicting fractures.

Introduction: A study was carried out to determine whether BMD measurement at the distal tibia sites of T-EPI and T-DIA is predictive of clinical fracture risk.

Methods: In a predefined representative cohort of Swiss community-dwelling elderly women aged 70-80 years included in the prospective, multi-centre Swiss Evaluation of the Methods of Measurement of Osteoporotic Fracture risk (SEMOF) study, fracture risk profile was assessed and BMD measured at the lumbar spine (LS), hip (HIP) and tibia (T-DIA and T-EPI) using DXA. Thereafter, clinical fractures were reported in a bi-yearly questionnaire.

Results: During 1,786 women-years of follow-up, 68 clinical fragility fractures occurred in 61 women. Older age and previous fracture were identified as risk factors for the present fractures. A decrease of 1 standard deviation in BMD values yielded a 1.5-fold (HIP) to 1.8-fold (T-EPI) significant increase in clinical fragility fracture hazard ratio (adjusted for age and previous fracture). All measured sites had comparable performance for fracture prediction (area under the curve range from 0.63 [LS] to 0.68 [T-EPI]).

Conclusion: Fracture risk prediction with BMD measurements at T-DIA and T-EPI is a valid alternative to BMD measurements at LS or HIP for patients in whom these sites cannot be accessed for clinical, technical or practical reasons.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon / methods
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bone Density*
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / etiology*
  • Fractures, Bone / physiopathology
  • Hip Joint / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiopathology
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / complications
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / diagnosis*
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / physiopathology
  • Tibia / physiopathology*