The clinical utility of measured kyphosis as a predictor of the presence of vertebral deformities

Document Type

Journal Article


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science




Prince, R. L., Devine, A., & Dick, I. M. (2007). The clinical utility of measured kyphosis as a predictor of the presence of vertebral deformities. Osteoporosis international, 18(5), 621-627. Available here


Summary- Meaured spinal kyphosis, as a predictor of prevalent and incident vertebral deformity, was examined in older women (>70 years) and found to not have sufficient sensitivity or specificity to justify its use as a predictor of present or future vertebral deformity risk. Introduction- Kyphosis may be attributable to vertebral deformity and was investigated as a clinical tool for predicting the presence and future risk of vertebral deformity. Methods- Kyphosis was measured in 434 women aged 70 years or older and the kyphosis index (KI) calculated. Prevalent and incident vertebral deformities were assessed by morphometric X-ray absorptiometry (MXA). The predictive value of KI was examined. Results- Severity of kyphosis was categorised by tertile of KI; 65% of anterior thoracic deformities occurred in the 33% of subjects in the highest (most kyphotic) tertile. Using this tertile as a predictor of anterior thoracic deformity, the probability for a positive test rose from 14% for the whole population to 28% and for a negative test the probability fell to 8%. For any spinal deformity the highest tertile of KI increased the probability of a positive test from 34% to 42% and reduced the probability for a negative test to 30%. The incidence of new deformities was 6% over 4 years; a high KI tertile did not increase the probability of any vertebral deformity





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