Routine body CT scans may help estimate individual's risk of osteoporotic fractures

Routine body CT scans may help clinicians estimate an individual's risk of future osteoporotic fracture, according to new study results published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Of 507 older adults who underwent chest and/or abdominal CT scans for a variety of indications, a simple rapid density measurement of bone quality called vertebral trabecular attenuation correlated with fracture risk in the following 6 years. Specifically, having a trabecular attenuation of the first lumbar vertebra below a certain threshold was associated with an increased risk of future fractures.

"CT scans are commonly performed in older adults for a wide variety of reasons. The rich bone data embedded in these scans is often ignored, but can and should be harnessed for opportunistic screening for fracture risk," said senior author Dr. Perry J. Pickhardt, of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health, in Madison.

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