Ultrasound gauges osteoporotic fracture risk

An ultrasound scan of the heel combined with other clinical parameters may predict the risk of fractures in elderly women afflicted by osteoporosis, according to a study from Switzerland.

An ultrasound scan of the heel combined with other clinical parameters may predict the risk of fractures in elderly women afflicted by osteoporosis, according to a study from Switzerland.

Dr. Idris Guessous and colleagues enrolled 6174 women aged 70 and older at 10 major Swiss osteoporosis centers. Patients underwent a quantitative ultrasound exam that calculates bone strength at the heel (stiffness index).

Investigators combined the stiffness index plus age, history of fracture, a failed osteoporosis chair test, and a recent fall to predict high and low fracture risk. The researchers found that 290 women (6.1%) in the high-risk group developed fractures compared with only 27 (1.8%) in the lower risk group. Ninety percent of women with hip fractures were in the high-risk group. Findings appeared in the July issue of Radiology.