Vertebral body fractures of unknown origin in cancer patients receiving MDCT: reporting by radiologists and awareness by clinicians

Language
en
Document Type
Article
Issue Date
2017-10-10
Issue Year
2016
Authors
Wild, Melanie
Dankerl, Peter
Hammon, Matthias
Uder, Michael
Janka, Rolf
Editor
Abstract

Background

To evaluate prevalence, radiological reporting and clinical management of pathologic vertebral body fractures (VBFs) of unknown origin in cancer patients receiving computed tomography (CT) examinations.

Methods

We investigated all CT examinations (over 1 year) of male and female patients with an underlying malignancy and an increased risk of osteoporosis (age 55–79 years) for the presence of VBFs. We evaluated midline sagittal CT-reformations of the spine for prevalence, fracture type, severity and location, the accuracy and style of radiological reporting, subsequent clinical management and documentation in hospital discharge letters.

Results

848 patients were investigated. We found 143 VBFs in 94 (11 %) patients. 6, 49, and 45 % were grade 1, grade 2, and grade 3 fractures, respectively, while 20, 66, and 14 % were wedge, biconcave and crush fractures, respectively. 32 (34 %) radiological reports correctly classified VBFs as fractures, 25 (27 %) reports recognized VBFs, but did not type them, and VBFs were not described in 37 (39 %) reports. In 3 (3 %) patients further clinical work-up of VBFs was performed, while only 8 (9 %) hospital discharge letters contained the information of the presence of pathologic VBFs of unknown origin.

Conclusions

VBFs of unknown origin appear frequently in cancer patients, however, clinical management and documentation was found in only few cases. Moreover, especially in cancer patients consistent radiological reporting of VBFs seems important, as aetiology of VBFs could be from osteoporosis, disease progression or oncological therapy, however, reporting is still performed inconsistently.

Journal Title
SpringerPlus
Volume
5
Citation
SpringerPlus 5 (2016). <https://springerplus.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40064-016-2097-5>