Prevalence of Vertebral Compression Fractures on Routine CT Scans According to L1 Trabecular Attenuation: Determining Relevant Thresholds for Opportunistic Osteoporosis Screening.
AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2017 Sep;209(3):491-496. doi: 10.2214/AJR.17.17853. Epub 2017 Jun 22. Graffy PM1, Lee SJ1, Ziemlewicz TJ1, Pickhardt PJ1.
OBJECTIVE: Radiologists interpreting body CT scans may be the first to identify osteoporosis and associated vertebral fractures. This study correlates L1 trabecular attenuation measurements with prevalent vertebral body fractures in older adults undergoing routine CT.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Mean L1 trabecular attenuation was measured at thoracoabdominal CT in 1966 consecutive adults (983 men and 983 women) 65 years and older (mean age, 74.1 ± 6.6 [SD] years). Sagittal reconstructions and lateral scouts were analyzed for moderate or severe thoracolumbar vertebral compression fractures according to the Genant semiquantitative assessment method. The diagnostic performance of L1 attenuation for the evaluation of prevalent vertebral fractures was assessed, including ROC curve analysis.
RESULTS: A total of 162 (8.2%) individuals (mean age, 78.3 years; 66 men, 96 women) had at least one moderate or severe vertebral fracture. The mean L1 attenuation was 70.2 HU among patients with a prevalent fracture, whereas it was 132.3 HU among patients without fracture (p < 0.001). The prevalence of moderate or severe vertebral compression fractures was 32.5% when L1 attenuation was ≤ 90 HU. Prevalence increased to 49.2% with L1 attenuation of ≤ 50 HU. ROC curve analysis determined an optimal threshold of 90 HU (sensitivity = 86.9%, specificity = 83.9%), with a corresponding AUC of 0.895. The odds ratio of having a moderate or severe vertebral compression fracture was 31.9 for L1 attenuation ≤ 90 HU (95% CI, 20.2-50.5; p < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Patients with moderate or severe vertebral compression fractures have significantly lower L1 attenuation values than patients who do not. L1 attenuation ≤ 90 HU may represent an optimal threshold for determining risk for osteoporotic vertebral fractures.