Paget's Disease of the Bone: Patterns of Referral to Secondary Care Following Diagnosis on X-rays

Calcif Tissue Int. 2021 May;108(5):634-639. doi: 10.1007/s00223-020-00800-5. Epub 2021 Jan 2.


Paget's disease of bone (PDB) is the second commonest metabolic bone disorder in the UK after osteoporosis and is both underdiagnosed and undertreated. PDB is often found incidentally on plain X-rays. There is effective treatment so identification of affected individuals is important. The aim was to conduct an audit to determine what proportion of individuals with X-ray evidence of PDB were referred to secondary care. A retrospective audit of X-rays reports in men and women over 55 years of age was undertaken over 18 months searching for the key word "Paget's." The images of possible cases were reviewed and the presence of PDB confirmed. The proportion already known to secondary care was determined and those that had had isotope bone scans and treatment. Data recorded included site of lesion, age, gender, level of total alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and complications. A total of 68,873 X-rays were screened and 43 cases found. Pelvic images had the highest proportion of positive findings at 0.2% and 65% of the cases. 74% had not been referred to secondary care. The mean age was 86.7 years (range 65-95) and the ALP was elevated in 65% with a mean of 189u/L (range 47-804u/L). In 33 individuals, PDB had been recorded in the reports of previous X-rays. The rate of referral for specialist care remains low. The prevalence of the condition appears to be falling.

Keywords: Audit; Paget’s disease of bone; Prevalence; X-rays.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Osteitis Deformans* / diagnostic imaging
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Secondary Care
  • X-Rays