by Julian Joestl, Nikolaus Lang, Adam Bukaty, Thomas M. Tiefenboeck, Patrick Platzer
Osteoporosis-associated vertebral fractures represent an increasing clinical and public health problem, one with important socioeconomic effects within western countries.The purpose of this study was to analyse demographic, medical, gender and socioeconomic aspects of osteoporotic vertebral fractures of the thoracic or lumbar spine over a period of at least 10-years.
Material and methods
Included for analysis were 694 patients who had suffered a vertebral fracture due to primary or secondary osteoporosis, and who were treated at our Level-I trauma center between 2000 and 2013. Collected data included demographic, medical and socioeconomic aspects.
Clinical results revealed that 669 patients (96%) were treated conservatively. The remaining 25 patients (4%) underwent surgical therapy: 4 were treated with vertebroplasty, 15 with kyphoplasty and 6 patients with posterior stabilization. The mean age was 75.6 years (range: 50–98), with the vast majority of patients being female (n = 515). A statistically significant demographic difference (i.e., increase) in fractures was observed between the age groups 60–69 and 70–79 (p = 0.041). Concerning socioeconomic aspects, statistical analysis showed that the number of sick leaves and the need for professional domestic help was higher in female patients. Concerning treatment costs, statistical analysis did not reveal any significant differences between female and male patients.
Significant gender differences–to the detriment of the female population–could be demonstrated within this study. A regrettably low rate of adequate treatment after diagnosis of osteoporosis and its associated fractures–specifically relating to primary and secondary prevention–could also be identified. To prospectively avoid complications and consequential cost increases, more awareness of the necessity for prevention, early diagnosis and adequate treatment of osteoporosis and its related fractures should be considered.