What proportion of incident radiographic vertebral fractures in older men is clinically diagnosed and vice versa: a prospective study
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To determine the proportion of incident radiographic vertebral fractures (vfx) also diagnosed as incident clinical vfx in older men and vice-versa, we used data from 4398 community-dwelling men age >/=65 years enrolled in the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) study. Incident radiographic vfx were identified by comparing baseline and follow-up lateral thoracic and lumbar spine study films (average 4.6 years between films) using a semiquantitative (SQ) method and defined as a change in SQ reading of >/=1 at a given vertebral level from baseline to follow-up study radiograph. Participants were contacted triannually to ascertain incident clinical vfx; community spinal imaging studies were obtained and clinical vfx were confirmed when the study radiologist determined that the community imaging study showed a new deformity of higher grade than was present in the same vertebra on the baseline study radiograph. A total of 237 incident radiographic vfx were identified in 197 men, whereas 31 men experienced 37 confirmed incident clinical vfx. Of incident radiographic vfx, 13.5% were also clinically diagnosed as incident fractures, with clinical diagnoses made for 16.3% of the radiographic vfx with SQ grade change >/=2. Of incident clinical vfx, 86.5% were identified as incident radiographic vfx, most of them with SQ grade change >/=2. In summary, less than 15% of incident radiographic vfx were also clinically diagnosed, whereas the majority of incident clinical vfx were identified as severe radiographic vfx. These results in men supplement those previously published for women and suggest a complex relationship between clinical and radiographic vfx in older adults.