Skeletal fractures are common in hemodialysis (HD) patients. However, consensus regarding technique and site of bone examination has not been reached in HD patients. Seventy-two patients (44% females) aged 65 (1.4) years, treated with HD for 43 (4.6) months were examined with quantitative computed tomography and 53 of them re-examined after 1 year. Bone mineral density (BMD) of lumbar spine was established separately for cortical and trabecular bone, prevalent vertebral fractures were determined. Data are given as mean (standard error). At least one vertebral fracture was discovered in 15 (21%) patients. In a logistic regression model, fractures were best predicted by cortical BMD: OR 0.96 (CI 0.94, 0.99), p < 0.005. With a multiple regression analysis, time on dialysis was found to be independently correlated to cortical BMD (R = 0.35, p < 0.005). On follow-up, a decrease of BMD was detected, which occurred only in the cortical region and was significantly greater in females than in males: -7% (1.7) versus 1.2% (1.9), p < 0.005. A time-dependent loss of vertebral cortical bone occurs in HD patients, especially in females. This decrement may impose an increased risk of fractures on long-term dialysis patients.