The Accuracy of Incident Vertebral Fracture Detection in Children Using Targeted
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Vertebral fractures are clinically important sequelae of a wide array of pediatric diseases. In this study, we examined the accuracy of case-finding strategies for detecting incident vertebral fractures (IVF) over 2 years in glucocorticoid-treated children (n = 343) with leukemia, rheumatic disorders, or nephrotic syndrome. Two clinical situations were addressed: the prevalent vertebral fracture (PVF) scenario (when baseline PVF status was known), which assessed the utility of PVF and low lumbar spine bone mineral density (LS BMD; Z-score <-1.4), and the non-PVF scenario (when PVF status was unknown), which evaluated low LS BMD and back pain. LS BMD was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, vertebral fractures were quantified on spine radiographs using the modified Genant semiquantitative method, and back pain was assessed by patient report. Forty-four patients (12.8%) had IVF. In the PVF scenario, both low LS BMD and PVF were significant predictors of IVF. Using PVF to determine which patients should have radiographs, 11% would undergo radiography (95% confidence interval [CI] 8-15) with 46% of IVF (95% CI 30-61) detected. Sensitivity would be higher with a strategy of PVF or low LS BMD at baseline (73%; 95% CI 57-85) but would require radiographs in 37% of children (95% CI 32-42). In the non-PVF scenario, the strategy of low LS BMD and back pain produced the highest specificity of any non-PVF model at 87% (95% CI 83-91), the greatest overall accuracy at 82% (95% CI 78-86), and the lowest radiography rate at 17% (95% CI 14-22). Low LS BMD or back pain in the non-PVF scenario produced the highest sensitivity at 82% (95% CI 67-92), but required radiographs in 65% (95% CI 60-70). These results provide guidance for targeting spine radiography in children at risk for IVF. © 2021 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR).
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