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Narrative Review: Hyperkyphosis in Older Persons

Deborah M. Kado, MD, MS; Katherine Prenovost, PhD; and Carolyn Crandall, MD, MS
[+] Article and Author Information

From the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.


Acknowledgments: The authors thank Paul Mischel, MD, and Arun Karlamangla, PhD, MD, for their insightful comments and suggestions, and John Ramirez, BA, for his help in preparing the manuscript for publication.

Grant Support: By the National Institutes of Health and National Institute on Aging (grants RO1 AG24246 and 1K12AG01004).

Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: Consultancies: D.M. Kado (Kyphon).

Requests for Single Reprints: Deborah M. Kado, MD, MS, David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles, 10945 Le Conte Avenue, Suite 2339, Los Angeles, CA 90095; e-mail, dkado@mednet.ucla.edu.

Current Author Addresses: Drs. Kado and Prenovost: Division of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles, 10945 Le Conte Avenue, Suite 2339, Los Angeles, CA 90095.

Dr. Crandall: Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles, 911 Broxton Avenue, 1st Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90024.


Ann Intern Med. 2007;147(5):330-338. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-147-5-200709040-00008
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Hyperkyphosis is a widely recognized yet largely ignored condition. Although there are no uniform diagnostic criteria for hyperkyphosis, current studies estimate its prevalence among older adults at 20% to 40%. The causes and consequences of hyperkyphosis are not well understood. Some physicians think that fractures cause hyperkyphosis and that management strategies should focus solely on diagnosis and treatment for osteoporosis. Recent studies, however, demonstrate that many older adults who are most affected by hyperkyphosis do not have vertebral fractures. Hyperkyphosis may be independently associated with an increased risk for adverse health outcomes, including impaired pulmonary function, decreased physical function capabilities, and future fractures. With the growing older population, we now need research that leads to a deeper understanding of the causes, consequences, and treatment of this common condition.

Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 1.
The flexicurve: a noninvasive measurement of thoracic kyphosis.(7)Spine

Reproduced from Lundon and colleagues with permission of .

Grahic Jump Location
Grahic Jump Location
Figure 2.
The Cobb angle of thoracic kyphosis, calculated from a lateral radiograph.(11)Spine

Reproduced from Kado and colleagues with permission of .

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Grahic Jump Location
Figure 3.
Postulated causes and consequences of hyperkyphosis in older persons.
Grahic Jump Location

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