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Open Access Research article

Incidence and predictors of morphometric vertebral fractures in patients with ankylosing spondylitis

Kwi Young Kang1, In Je Kim2, Seung Min Jung3, Seung-Ki Kwok3, Ji Hyeon Ju3, Kyung-Su Park3, Yeon Sik Hong1* and Sung-Hwan Park3*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal medicine, Incheon St. Mary’s Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, 56 Dongsu-ro, Bupyeong-gu, Incheon 430-720, South Korea

2 Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal medicine, College of Medicine, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea

3 Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal medicine, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, #505, Banpo-Dong, Seocho-Gu, Seoul, South Korea

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2014, 16:R124  doi:10.1186/ar4581

Published: 16 June 2014

Abstract

Introduction

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is associated with an increased incidence of vertebral fractures (VFs); however the actual incidence and predictors of morphometric VFs are unknown. The present study examined the incidence and predictors of new VFs in a large AS cohort.

Methods

In total, 298 AS patients who fulfilled the modified New York criteria were enrolled and spinal radiographs were evaluated biennially. Clinical and laboratory data and radiographic progression were assessed according to the Bath AS Disease Activity Index, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein (CRP), and the Stoke AS spine score (SASSS). VF was defined according to the Genant criteria. The incidence of VFs at 2 and 4 years was evaluated using the Kaplan-Meier method. The age-specific standardized prevalence ratio (SPR) for AS patients in comparison with the general population was calculated.

Results

Of 298 patients, 31 (10.8%) had previous VFs at baseline. A total of 30 new VFs occurred in 26 patients over 4 years. The incidence of morphometric VFs was 4.7% at 2 years and 13.6% at 4 years. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that previous VFs at baseline and increased CRP levels at 2 years were predictors of new VFs (odds ratio (OR) =12.8, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 3.6-45.3 and OR = 5.4, 95% CI = 1.4–15.9). The age-specific specific standardized prevalence ratio of morphometric VFs in AS was 3.3 (95% CI 2.1–4.5).

Conclusions

The incidence of morphometric VFs increased in AS. Previous VFs and increased CRP levels predicted future VFs. Further studies are needed to identify the effects of treatment interventions on the prevention of new VFs.