Radiographers ‘key’ to addressing growing osteoporosis crisis

Published: 01 May 2018 Ezine

Radiographers and radiologists hold the key to arresting the negative impact of osteoporosis on patients and the NHS by improving early identification of vertebral fractures, the National Osteoporosis Society has said.

Now the charity is tackling the problem through the publication of new guidance designed to help diagnostic imaging professionals identify more vertebral fractures - and it’s calling on them to make a concerted effort to note and report any that they spot.

Currently up to 70 per cent of vertebral fractures remain undiagnosed.

National Osteoporosis Society’s Clinical Director Fizz Thompson said the charity’s new guidance, written in collaboration with leading clinical experts, offered a valuable opportunity to help those at risk of osteoporosis.

“Radiologists and radiographers are missing opportunities to identify patients at risk of osteoporosis every day because they are not reporting the vertebral fractures that can be seen on scans – fractures that often indicate that a patient will go on to suffer more pain and misery and cost the already overburdened NHS more in terms of care and support,” said Fizz.

"Our new guidance is designed to provide the tools needed to do this so they can play a leading role in addressing the growing problems caused by osteoporosis effectively and efficiently.”

Dr Tony Newman-Sanders, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Diagnostics, said the new guidance would help diagnostic imaging professionals to identify vertebral fractures.

“Vertebral fractures are the most common osteoporotic fracture, and this new guidance from the National Osteoporosis Society seeks to address this problem head-on and will provide diagnostic imaging professionals with tools to diagnose vertebral fractures as early as possible. This will help identify people with osteoporosis who would benefit from treatment and prevent further fractures.”

Charlotte Beardmore, Director of Professional Policy at the Society, added: “This is important guidance for diagnostic radiographers and is supported by the SCoR.

“We welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the consultation draft of the guidance document.

“Radiographers are well placed to positively impact on patient experience and this guidance highlights their key role as part of a multi professional team delivering structured patient pathways in the early detection of fractures and osteoporosis.

“We will also be publishing our own guidance around DXA, which will build upon this work.”

Download Clinical Guidance for the Effective Identification of Vertebral Fractures