Mortality in the vertebroplasty population

Robert J. McDonald, S. J. Achenbach, E. J. Atkinson, L. A. Gray, H. J. Cloft, L. J. Melton, D. F. Kallmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Vertebroplasty is an effective treatment for painful compression fractures refractory to conservative management. Because there are limited data regarding the survival characteristics of this patient population, we compared the survival of a treated with an untreated vertebral fracture cohort to determine whether vertebroplasty affects mortality rates. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The survival of a treated cohort, comprising 524 vertebroplasty recipients with refractory osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures, was compared with a separate historical cohort of 589 subjects with fractures not treated by vertebroplasty who were identified from the Rochester Epidemiology Project. Mortality was compared between cohorts by using Cox proportional hazards models adjusting for age, sex, and Charlson indices of comorbidity. Mortality was also correlated with pre-, peri-, and postprocedural clinical metrics (eg, cement volume use, RDQ score, analog pain scales, frequency of narcotic use, and improvement in mobility) within the treated cohort. RESULTS: Vertebroplasty recipients demonstrated 77% of the survival expected for individuals of similar age, ethnicity, and sex within the US population. Compared with individuals with both symptomatic and asymptomatic untreated vertebral fractures, vertebroplasty recipients retained a 17% greater mortality risk. However, compared with symptomatic untreated vertebral fractures, vertebroplasty recipients had no increased mortality following adjustment for differences in age, sex, and comorbidity (HR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.82-1.25). In addition, no clinical metrics used to assess the efficacy of vertebroplasty were predictive of survival. CONCLUSIONS: Vertebroplasty recipients have mortality rates similar to those of individuals with untreated symptomatic fractures but have worse mortality compared with those with asymptomatic vertebral fractures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1818-1823
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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