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28.01.2020 | Original Article

Quantitative computed tomography discriminates between postmenopausal women with low spine bone mineral density with vertebral fractures and those with low spine bone mineral density only: the SHATTER study

Osteoporosis International
M. A. Paggiosi, M. Debono, J. S. Walsh, N. F. A. Peel, R. Eastell
Wichtige Hinweise

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Lumbar spine volumetric bone mineral density (BMD) measured using quantitative computed tomography (QCT) can discriminate between postmenopausal women with low areal BMD with and without vertebral fractures. QCT provides a 3D measure of BMD, excludes the vertebral posterior elements and accounts for bone size. This knowledge could contribute to effective treatment targeting of patients with low BMD.


We evaluated the ability of lumbar spine bone mineral apparent density (BMAD), trabecular bone score (TBS) and volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD) to discriminate between postmenopausal women with low areal bone mineral density (aBMD) by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) with and without vertebral fractures. The discriminatory ability of lumbar spine aBMD was compared with that of BMAD, TBS and vBMD.


We studied three groups of postmenopausal women, i.e. group 1, aBMD T-score < − 1.0 and ≥ 1 vertebral fracture (n = 39); group 2, aBMD T-score < − 1.0 and no vertebral fracture, age- and aBMD-matched to group 1 (n = 34); group 3, aBMD score > − 1 and no vertebral fracture, age-matched to group 1 (n = 37). Lumbar spine aBMD was measured by DXA. BMAD was calculated using the DXA scan results. TBS was derived following DXA scan image reanalysis. Lumbar spine vBMD was assessed by quantitative computed tomography and Mindways Pro software. Differences in variables between groups 1, 2 and 3 were examined using general linear univariate modelling approaches. Area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was calculated for BMAD, TBS and vBMD to determine the ability of lumbar spine measurement variables to discriminate between group 1 and group 2. A comparison of ROCs was performed.


Lumbar spine BMAD and TBS measurement variables were similar for groups 1 and 2. However, vBMD was significantly lower in group 1 and could discriminate between those women with low aBMD with (group 1) and without vertebral fractures (group 2).


We conclude that lumbar spine vBMD may discriminate well between postmenopausal women with low aBMD with and without vertebral fractures as it provides a 3D measure of bone mineral density, excludes the posterior elements of the vertebrae and takes into account bone size. A unique feature of the SHATTER study is that groups 1 and 2 were matched for aBMD, thus our study findings are independent of aBMD. Furthermore, we observed that neither BMAD nor TBS could distinguish between women with low aBMD with and without vertebral fractures. The knowledge gained from the SHATTER study will influence clinical and therapeutic decision-making, thereby optimising the care of patients with and without vertebral and other fragility fractures.

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