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Vertebral fractures are recognised as a hallmark of osteoporosis, yet little is known of their epidemiology. This deficiency limits accurate characterisation of the public health importance of osteoporosis. Assessment of the impact of vertebral fractures has been hampered by the absence of formal criteria for identifying fractures on a thoracolumbar radiograph. Initial methods relying upon subjective radiological assessments have given way to morphometric measurements of vertebral heights, with deformities defined according to various algorithms. These methods have been used in a series of studies performed in Rochester, MN, to determine the incidence, outcome, and time trends of vertebral deformities. The results suggest a prevalence rate of vertebral deformity of 25.3 per 100 Rochester women aged 50 years and over (95% CI, 22.3-28.2), with an estimated incidence of 17.8 per 1,000 person-years. The incidence of clinically diagnosed vertebral fractures among women in the same population was 5.3 per 1,000 person-years, suggesting that around 30% of such deformities in women receive clinical attention. Morphometric measurement on the radiographs of women with clinically diagnosed fractures revealed that 80% had grade 2 ( > 4 SD) deformities. Comparable data on the occurrence and health impact of vertebral deformities throughout Europe are urgently required. The European Vertebral Osteoporosis Study (EVOS) is a multicentre epidemiological study that aims to address this issue. It is designed as a radiographic prevalence study in 34 European centres.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)


Journal article



Publication Date



14 Suppl 1


S89 - S97


Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Bone Density, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Osteoporosis, Radiography, Risk Factors, Spinal Fractures, Spine