Archive for the ‘Evaluation and Screening’ Category
Treat to Target of NO NEW FRACTURES. How do we find that target? DXA >-2.5 is a start. Fragility fractures increase new fracture risk. FRAX adds many more risk factors to the calculation and TBS refines FRAX.
Vertebral Fracture Assessment (VFA) looks at the spine from the side and independently identifies additional fracture risk. This can be done on a DXA machine or by x-ray. A single vertebral compression fracture of 25% or more pre-empts DXA, BMD, and FRAX in diagnosing Clinical Osteoporosis and recommending treatment.
VFA should be done because the majority of vertebral compression fractures are first noticed by x-ray or DXA VFA imaging. If you do not personally view the images, be sure the radiologist specifically checked for vertebral deformities as described by Genant.
I recently published my retrospective review of 1259 sequential first time VFA patients in Endocrine Practice 2017:23:1375-8.
VFA identified many patients not identified as high fracture risk (Clinical Osteoporosis) by DXA or fragility fracture or height loss or kyphosis or FRAX.
We should consider including VFA in every first time Complete Bone Health Evaluation.
And how should we treat? Next time…
Jay Ginther, MD
Our goal is NO NEW FRACTURES. Cancellous (spongy, like the ends of the drumstick) bone should be a strong latticework of struts called trabeculi. Clinical Osteoporosis, an increased fracture risk, occurs when some of the struts disappear.
Trabecular Bone Score (TBS) evaluates the spongy bone in the DXA images of the vertebrae (spine) looking for irregularities. When TBS finds uneven bone mineral density within the spine DXA, that indicates a higher fracture risk, regardless of the total BMD.
Adding the TBS feature to a DXA machine allows the quality of bone in the spine to influence the FRAX score, just like the BMD in the femoral neck part of the hip influences the FRAX score. Adding TBS detects more patients at high fracture risk who should be treated to avoid fractures.
Diabetes increases a person’s fracture risk for any given DXA BMD or T-score. Controlled diabetes adds about the same risk as rheumatoid arthritis, so we usually check that box in FRAX. Uncontrolled diabetes is more serious requiring further adjustment to FRAX.
FRAX is pre-empted by a hip fracture. “Do not pass GO, do not collect $200, start a pharmaceutical” Vertebral (spine) Fracture is the same, but the majority of spine fractures are not noticed clinically. “Morphometric” (first noticed on x-ray) vertebral fractures count, but how to find them?
VFA next time
Jay Ginther, MD
Treat to Target means aiming for NO NEW FRACTURES. As discussed last time, the original target was to maintain Bone Mineral Density (BMD) at the level first tested. 25 years ago that was amended to be a T-score of -2.4 or higher, since “osteoporosis the test result” was set at -2.5.
But what if you already have fractured? Clinical Osteoporosis the diagnosis is a T-score of -1.5 plus a “Fragility Fracture” acquired in any fall from standing height, even on ice. That is because for the first year after a fracture your risk is 5 times normal. Your risk decreases to 2 times normal after 5 years, but always is higher after a fragility fracture.
If your Fragility Fracture was a Hip Fracture, you have Clinical Osteoporosis regardless of DXA BMD and T-score. You are at high risk of future fracture, especially of the other hip. You should start treatment to prevent a new fracture. At the very least you need to optimize calcium, vitamin D3, protein, and multiple vitamins & minerals intake.
If you also need a pharmaceutical, it should be one which can raise your T-score above -2.5 if you have no fractures, and above -1.5 if you already have a fracture. That usually means considering an anabolic. Your goal is NO NEW FRACTURES.
FRAX next time.
Jay Ginther, MD
The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) and the International Society for Clinical Densitometry (ISCD) are meeting together later this week. This will be my 10th attendance at each group. They are both always interesting.
I will be presenting a new research project this year – “Vertebral Compression Deformities in Patients with Normal Bone Mineral Density”.
This is a further study of the 79 patients with Normal BMD by DXA alone, who were changed to Clinical Osteoporosis because of vertebral compression fractures found on VFA from last year’s study of 1259 consecutive patients with first-time VFA at our facility.
I look forward to seeing what else is new this year.
Jay Ginther, MD