Ultrasound gauges osteoporotic fracture risk

September 8, 2008

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.