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Predictive Value of DXA Appendicular Lean Mass for Incident Fractures, Falls, and Mortality, Independent of Prior Falls, FRAX, and BMD: Findings from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI)

In the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), we investigated associations between baseline dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) appendicular lean mass (ALM) and risk of incident fractures, falls, and mortality (separately for each outcome) among older postmenopausal women, accounting for bone mineral density (BMD), prior falls, and Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (FRAX® ) probability. The WHI is a prospective study of postmenopausal women undertaken at 40 US sites. We used an extension of Poisson regression to investigate the relationship between baseline ALM (corrected for height2 ) and incident fracture outcomes, presented here for major osteoporotic fracture (MOF: hip, clinical vertebral, forearm, or proximal humerus), falls, and death. Associations were adjusted for age, time since baseline and randomization group, or additionally for femoral neck (FN) BMD, prior falls, or FRAX probability (MOF without BMD) and are reported as gradient of risk (GR: hazard ratio for first incident fracture per SD increment) in ALM/height2 (GR). Data were available for 11,187 women (mean [SD] age 63.3 [7.4] years). In the base models (adjusted for age, follow-up time, and randomization group), greater ALM/height2 was associated with lower risk of incident MOF (GR = 0.88; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.83-0.94). The association was independent of prior falls but was attenuated by FRAX probability. Adjustment for FN BMD T-score led to attenuation and inversion of the risk relationship (GR = 1.06; 95% CI 0.98-1.14). There were no associations between ALM/height2 and incident falls. However, there was a 7% to 15% increase in risk of death during follow-up for each SD greater ALM/height2 , depending on specific adjustment. In WHI, and consistent with our findings in older men (Osteoporotic Fractures in Men [MrOS] study cohorts), the predictive value of DXA-ALM for future clinical fracture is attenuated (and potentially inverted) after adjustment for femoral neck BMD T-score. However, intriguing positive, but modest, associations between ALM/height2 and mortality remain robust. © 2021 The Authors. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR).

Authors: Harvey, Nicholas C; Cespedes Feliciano, Elizabeth M; McCloskey, Eugene; et al.

J Bone Miner Res. 2021 04;36(4):654-661. Epub 2021-01-28.

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