Current Issue - January 2016 - Vol 19 Issue 1


  1. 2016;19;E113-E120Treatment of Osteoporotic Vertebral Compression Fractures: Applicability of Appropriateness Criteria in Clinical Practice
    Prospective Evaluation
    Daniel Fagan, FRCS, Patrick Fransen, MD, Thomas Blattert, MD, PhD, Herman J. Stoevelaar, PhD, Rupert Schupfner, MD, Stefano Marcia, MD, Frederic Schils, MD, Mashood Ali Siddiqi, MD, and Giovanni Carlo Anselmetti, MD.

BACKGROUND: Appropriate treatment choice for osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures (OVCF) is challenging due to patient heterogeneity. Using the RAND/UCLA method, an international multidisciplinary expert panel established patient-specific criteria for the choice between non-surgical management (NSM), vertebroplasty (VP), and balloon kyphoplasty (BKP).

OBJECTIVES: To assess the applicability of the appropriateness criteria in real-life practice.

STUDY DESIGN: Prospective observational study.

SETTING: Eight practices of experts who participated in the panel study, including 2 interventional radiologists, one internal medicine specialist, 2 neurosurgeons, and 3 orthopedic/trauma surgeons. Practices were located in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

METHODS: Using an online data capture program, participants documented the clinical profile (age, gender, previous VCFs, time since fracture, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings, evolution of symptoms, impact of symptoms on quality of life, spinal deformity, ongoing fracture process, and presence of pulmonary dysfunction) and treatment choice for consecutive patients who consulted them for OVCF.

RESULTS: In total 426 patients were included. BKP was the most frequently chosen treatment option (49%), followed by VP (34%) and NSM (14%). When compared with the panel recommendations, inappropriate treatment choices were rare (5% for NSM, 2% for VP, none for BKP). Treatment choice was strongly associated with the clinical variables used in the panel study.

Differences in treatment decisions between interventional radiologists and surgeons were largely determined by differences in patient characteristics, with time of clinical presentation being the dominant factor.

LIMITATION: The study population was restricted to the practices of the participants of the panel study.

CONCLUSION: This international, multi-specialty utilization review showed excellent applicability of, and good adherence with RAND/UCLA-based recommendations on treatment choice in OVCF.