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Assessing hip fracture risk in type-2 diabetic patients using CT-based autonomous finite element methods

a feasibility study

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Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) impairs bone strength and is a significant risk factor for hip fracture, yet currently there is no reliable tool to assess this risk. Most risk stratification methods rely on bone mineral density, which is not impaired by diabetes, rendering current tests ineffective. CT-based finite element analysis (CTFEA) calculates the mechanical response of bone to load and uses the yield strain, which is reduced in T2DM patients, to measure bone strength. The purpose of this feasibility study was to examine whether CTFEA could be used to assess the hip fracture risk for T2DM patients.


A retrospective cohort study was undertaken using autonomous CTFEA performed on existing abdominal or pelvic CT data comparing two groups of T2DM patients: a study group of 27 patients who had sustained a hip fracture within the year following the CT scan and a control group of 24 patients who did not have a hip fracture within one year. The main outcome of the CTFEA is a novel measure of hip bone strength termed the Hip Strength Score (HSS).


The HSS was significantly lower in the study group (1.76 (SD 0.46)) than in the control group (2.31 (SD 0.74); p = 0.002). A multivariate model showed the odds of having a hip fracture were 17 times greater in patients who had an HSS ≤ 2.2. The CTFEA has a sensitivity of 89%, a specificity of 76%, and an area under the curve of 0.90.


This preliminary study demonstrates the feasibility of using a CTFEA-based bone strength parameter to assess hip fracture risk in a population of T2DM patients.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2021;103-B(9):1497–1504.

Correspondence should be sent to Dani Rotman. E-mail:

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