OBJECTIVES: Our purpose was to review scout CT lateral radiographs to reveal osteoporotic vertebral fractures unreported by radiologists and to explore scout CT as a potential diagnostic tool in the detection of vertebral fractures. METHODS: We considered 500 patients (303 males, 197 females, age 64.6±13.5 year-old). Our investigation was firstly focused on scout CT lateral images to detect vertebral fractures with a combined semiquantitative and quantitative diagnostic approach. Findings addressed to vertebral fracture were subsequently confirmed by multiplanar sagittal CT reconstructions. Whenever a vertebral fracture was discovered the radiologist report was read and a collection of patient anamnesis followed to understand whether fractures were already known. RESULTS: In 44/500 patients (8.8%) the evaluation on scout CT was incomplete or limited for patient/technical-based conditions, and 15 were excluded from the analysis. In 67/485 patients (13.8%) 99 vertebral fractures were detected. Among 67 fractured patients only 18 (26.9%) were previously diagnosed by radiologists. However, in the clinical history of 32 patients vertebral fractures were already known. CONCLUSIONS: The perception and sensibility to vertebral fractures among radiologists are still poor when the assessment of the spine is not the aim of the examination. Short time spent for the evaluation of scout CT lateral radiographs could improve our accuracy.
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