Osteoporosis and calcification of the aorta

Mark A. Frye, L. Joseph Melton, Sandra C. Bryant, Lorraine A. Fitzpatrick, Heinz W. Wahner, Robert S. Schwartz, B. Lawrence Riggs

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151 Scopus citations


In an age-stratified random sample of 200 Rochester, Minnesota women, the prevalence of aortic calcification rose with aging, as did the prevalence of vertebral fractures, while bone mass fell. The statistically significant positive association of aortic calcification with vertebral fractures and the negative associations with bone mass at six skeletal sites were mainly accounted for by age. After age-adjustment, the only association remaining was a negative one between calcified aortic plaques and bone mineral density (BMD) of the lumbar spine (P < 0.05). Aortic calcification was not associated with any measures of calcium metabolism, after adjusting for age, except for a slight negative association between linear aortic calcifications and 25(OH) vitamin D levels (P < 0.05). BMD values of the lumbar spine were somewhat greater than predicted for age in women with severe aortic calcification, but similar findings were seen at other skeletal sites and none of the differences was statistically significant. While overestimation of bone mass was generally minimal, severe aortic calcification may distort lumbar spine assessments in a minority of postmenopausal women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-194
Number of pages10
JournalBone and Mineral
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1992


  • Aortic calcification
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Osteoporosis
  • Vertebral fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology


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