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Back pain from painful osteoporotic vertebral fractures: discrepancy between the actual fracture location and the location suggested by patient-reported pain or physical examination findings.

Osteoporos Int. 2020 Apr 28;: Authors: Jin H, Ma X, Liu Y, Liu M, Yin X, Fan W, Zhu J, Zhao JH, Chen L, Su N, Xie Y, Yang J, Liu P

INTRODUCTION: Whether the location of symptoms or physical examination findings delineates the appropriate spinal range for imaging has not been thoroughly investigated for VFs. The present study aims to analyze the consistency between the fractural vertebrae location and the location suggested by patient-reported pain or physical examination findings. METHODS: This observational study, following a prospective design, enrolled 358 patients with VFs. The locations of two symptoms (patient-reported back pain [P-RBP], radiating pain [RP]) and findings from two physical examinations (spinal palpation tenderness [SPT], axial spinal percussion pain [ASPP]) were used to locate the VF segments identified using whole-spine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The percentage of agreements and kappa coefficient were calculated. RESULTS: In 20.7% (74/358), the P-RBP site and VF segments were in the same location (kappa = 0.153); 21.2% (76/358) presented with concomitant RP in 93.4% (71/76) of whom the RP dermatome was colocalized with the VF segments (kappa = 0.924); 55.0% (197/358) and 23.2% (83/358) of patients presented with positive SPT and ASPP, respectively; and in 49.2% (97/197) and 96.4% (80/83) of patients with positive SPT (kappa = 0.435) and ASPP (kappa = 0.963), the positive finding and the VF segments were consistently colocalized. CONCLUSIONS: The positive finding of RP or ASPP is useful in determining the spinal range for imaging tests, while an MRI scan covering the whole thoracic and lumbar spine is necessary in VF-suspected patients with P-RBP or positive SPT, indicating that caution is necessary when using symptoms or physical examination findings to localize VFs. PMID: 32346773 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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