Open Access Research article

Vertebral fractures in patients with inflammatory bowel disease COMPARED with a healthy population: a prospective case-control study

Ma Angeles Vázquez124*, Enrique Lopez3, Ma José Montoya12, Mercè Giner2, Ramón Pérez-Temprano1 and Ramón Pérez-Cano12

  • * Corresponding author: Ma A Vázquez

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Medicine Department, University of Seville, Seville, Spain

2 Osteoporosis Unit, University Hospital “Virgen Macarena”, Sevilla, Spain

3 Internal Medicine Service, Hospital Juan Ramón Jiménez, Huelva, Spain

4 Osteoporosis Unit, University Hospital “Virgen Macarena”, Av. Dr. Fedriani s/n, 41009, Seville, Spain

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Gastroenterology 2012, 12:47  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-12-47

Published: 14 May 2012



A prospective study was performed to compare the prevalence of morphometric vertebral fractures (MVF) between patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and healthy subjects and to identify predictive factors of fracture.


A total of 107 patients with IBD (53 with Crohn’s disease and 54 with ulcerative colitis) and 51 healthy subjects participated in the study. Information about anthropometric parameters, toxins, previous fractures, and parameters related to this disease were evaluated. The index of vertebral deformity, bone mass density (BMD), and biochemical parameters were calculated.


A total of 72 fractures were detected in 38.32% of patients with IBD, and 10 fractures were detected in 13.73% of healthy subjects; the risk of fracture in patients with IBD was higher than that in control subjects (OR, 4.03; 95% CI, 1.652–9.847; p < 0.002). We found no correlation between fracture and BMD in patients with IBD (lumbar spine, r = −0.103, p = 0.17 and femoral neck, r = −0.138, p = 0.07). Corticosteroid treatment was not associated with prevalent vertebral fractures nor with taking corticosteroids (r = 0.135, p = 0.14) or the duration for which they were taken (r = 0.08, p = 0.38), whereas this relationship was present in the controls (r = −0.365, p = 0.01). In the multivariate analysis, none of the measured parameters were significantly predictive of fracture, only to manifested IBD. Hypovitaminosis D was observed in 55.14% of patients with IBD.


The prevalence of morphometric vertebral fractures is higher in patients with IBD than in the healthy population, without association with BMD or corticoid treatment. Simply having IBD was proven to be a predictive factor of fracture. We observed a high incidence of hypovitaminosis D in patients with IBD.

Morphometric vertebral fractures; Inflammatory bowel disease; Bone mineral density; Bone remodeling