Vertebroplasty data hint atnegative effect on survival

February 1, 2009
Volume 31, Issue 2

Researchers were stunned when preliminary results of an ongoing study showed that patients who undergo vertebroplasty may die sooner than patients with vertebral fractures who do not undergo the procedure.

Researchers were stunned when preliminary results of an ongoing study showed that patients who undergo vertebroplasty may die sooner than patients with vertebral fractures who do not undergo the procedure.

“It doesn’t make any sense to us,” said coauthor Dr. Robert J. McDonald from Mayo Clinic’s Medical Scientist Training Program.

McDonald and colleagues in Rochester, MN, compared survival rates of patients treated with vertebroplasty for vertebral fractures with those treated conservatively. A preliminary data analysis suggested the former had a significantly reduced life expectancy when compared with the latter.

The study remains a work-in-progress, however, and McDonald advised against jumping to conclusions before final results are in. He released the preliminary findings at the 2008 RSNA meeting.