Assessment of the risk of vertebral fracture in menopausal women

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1987 Feb;69(2):212-8.


The decision to institute prophylaxis in women with menopausal osteopenia is hampered by the absence of quantitative criteria for appraising the risk of fracture in the individual. We have developed standards for assessing the risk of fracture by relating the prevalence of atraumatic vertebral compression fractures to bone density in sixty-five menopausal women, forty-nine to ninety-two years old. To define the upper limit of the spectrum of bone density, we also studied thirty-one young women, seventeen to twenty-two years old. The density of trabecular bone in a vertebral body was determined by quantitative computed tomography and expressed in terms of milligrams per milliliter of dipotassium hydrogen phosphate. Twenty-five of the menopausal women exhibited at least one fracture (range, one to six fractures), and forty had no fracture. The bone density ranged from -9 to sixty-nine milligrams per milliliter in those with fractures and from twelve to 122 milligrams per milliliter in those without a fracture. The densities in the young women averaged 173 milligrams per milliliter and ranged from ninety-five to 248 milligrams per milliliter. The percentage of subjects with fractures increased as the bone density decreased. It was zero per cent in women with a density of seventy milligrams per milliliter or more, 38 per cent in women with a density between fifty and less than seventy milligrams per milliliter, 71 per cent in those with a density between thirty and less than fifty milligrams per milliliter, and 82 per cent in women with a density of less than thirty milligrams per milliliter.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / physiopathology*
  • Bone and Bones / analysis
  • Densitometry
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Menopause*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk
  • Spinal Injuries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed