Study design: A prospective randomized clinical trial.
Objective: In this study, we determine whether percutaneous vertebroplasty (PVP) offers extra benefits to aged patients with acute osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures (OVCFs) over conservative therapy (CV).
Summary of background data: OVCFs are common in the aged population with osteoporosis. While the optimal treatment of aged patients with acute OVCFs remains controversial, PVP, a minimally invasive procedure, is a treatment option to be considered.
Methods: Patients aged at 70 years or above with acute OVCF and severe pain from minor or mild trauma were assigned randomly to PVP and CV groups. The primary outcome was pain relief as measured by VAS score in 1-year follow-up period. The second outcome was quality of life assessed with ODI and Quality of Life Questionnaire of the European Foundation for Osteoporosis (QUALEFFO). Patient satisfaction surveys were also recorded.
Results: A total of 135 patients were enrolled, and 107 (56 in PVP group; 51 in CV group) completed 1-year follow-up. In PVP group, the vertebroplasty procedure was performed at a mean of 8.4 ± 4.6 days (range, 2-21 days) after onset. Vertebroplasty resulted in much greater pain relief than did conservative treatment at postoperative day 1 (P < 0.0001). At every time point of follow-up, pain relief and quality of life were significantly improved in PVP group than in CV group at 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year (all P < 0.0001). The final follow-up surveys indicated that patients in PVP group were significantly more satisfied with given treatment (P < 0.0001). In addition, lower rate of complications was observed in PVP group (P < 0.0001).
Conclusion: In aged patients with acute OVCF and severe pain, early vertebroplasty yielded faster, better pain relief and improved functional outcomes, which were maintained for 1 year. Furthermore, it showed fewer complications than conservative treatment.
Level of evidence: 2.