Contributions of vertebral fractures to stature loss among elderly Japanese-American women in Hawaii



Loss of stature is a typical feature of osteoporosis and associated vertebral fractures. However, there have been few prospective population-based studies to estimate the magnitude of this association. Further, the separate contributions of different types of vertebral fractures to stature loss have not been evaluated using prospective data. In this study we investigated the extent to which stature loss could be explained by the number of different types of vertebral fractures (wedge, endplate, and crush fractures) after adjusting for other covariates. Longitudinal data on stature loss and vertebral fractures were collected among 504 postmenopausal Japanese-American women living in Hawaii with mean age 73.4 (SD 4.9) years. During an average of 7.7 years of follow-up, women with at least one incident vertebral fracture had an average of 2.1 cm of stature loss while the average stature loss among those without incident fractures was only 0.4 cm. The mean rate of stature loss was very slight (< 1 mm/year) for those without incident vertebral fractures even after age 80. Our analyses suggest that both the number of wedge and the number of crush fractures are strong predictors of stature loss. After adjusting for age and total height loss in the anterior dimension over T3-L5, the estimated stature loss resulting from each wedge and crush fracture was 0.86 and 1.08 cm, respectively. Endplate fractures did not show significant contributions to stature loss.