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Hyperkyphosis, Spinal Fracture Linked to Mortality Risk

Last Updated: May 19, 2009.

Older women with hyperkyphosis and a history of vertebral fractures may have a higher risk of death, according to research published in the May 19 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

TUESDAY, May 19 (HealthDay News) -- Older women with hyperkyphosis and a history of vertebral fractures may have a higher risk of death, according to research published in the May 19 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Deborah M. Kado, M.D., of the MacDonald Research Laboratory in Los Angeles, and colleagues analyzed data from 610 white women, ages 67 to 93 years. Ninety-five women had prevalent vertebral fractures, the definition of which was based on vertebral height ratios compared to the population mean. Kyphosis was assessed by flexicurve.

The researchers found that in women with prevalent fractures, hyperkyphosis was associated with increased risk of mortality (relative hazard per standard deviation increase, 1.58). The higher risk appeared to be independent of factors including age and spinal osteoporosis. Women who didn't have vertebral fractures did not appear to have a higher mortality risk from kyphosis, the authors note.

"These results add to a growing literature that suggests that hyperkyphosis is a clinically important finding. Because it is readily observed and is associated with ill health in older persons, hyperkyphosis should be recognized as a geriatric syndrome -- a 'multifactorial health condition that occurs when the accumulated effect of impairments in multiple systems renders a person vulnerable to situational challenges,'" the authors conclude.

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