Vertebral trabecular mineral content and peripheral cortical bone mineral were measured in 94 female and 44 male osteoporotic patients and compared to vertebral mineral values obtained for 323 control subjects in a cross-sectional study. The rate of change of spinal trabecular mineral with age (measured by quantitative computed tomography) in control females averaged 1.2% per year from age 20 to 80, with an accelerated loss demonstrated at the menopause. Trabecular bone mass in male controls declined an average 0.72% per year. Female osteoporotics had a mean decrement of 48 mg cm-3 (39%) compared to age-matched controls, whereas males were decreased 66 mg cm-3 (50%). Radial cortical bone was correlated with spinal mineral in osteoporotics for both males (r = 0.48) and females (r = 0.62). Vertebral compression fractures or wedging was generally absent in patients with vertebral mineral values above 110 mg cm-3, whereas almost all patients with values below 65 mg cm-3 had fractures. Quantitative computed tomography for measurement of vertebral trabecular bone mineral density is useful for defining those patients in whom the risk of vertebral fracture is increased.
Keywords: Vertebral Mineral Content; Computed Tomography; Osteoporosis; Age-related Bone Changes; Fracture Risk