Bone density test found useful
The Clinical Advisor, April 2005
THE NIH had refused to endorse screening for osteoporosis because there was no evidence that bone density testing resulted in fewer fractures. Now there is. Researchers have found that screening can reduce hip fractures by more than a third, but they concede their findings aren't definitive.
Investigators followed 3,107 patients older than 65 who were already taking part in a multicenter cardiovascular-health trial. In 1994 and 1995, roughly half the patients had hip-bone density scans, and the results were sent to their primary-care clinicians. Prescription of any osteoporosis drug was left up to the patients and their clinicians. The remainder of the patients were not screened.
After six years, 33 screened patients
had hip fractures, or 4.8
breaks per 1,000 person-years. Unscreened
patients had 69 fractures - a rate of 8.2 per 1,000 person-years. The difference was statistically significant, but the study suffered from several limitations, cautions lead researcher Lisa Kern. MD, of Cornell University's Weill Medical College in New York City. Never-the less, she says the finding "may be of interest to the next NIH consensus panel on osteoporosis" and support recommendations by the National Osteoporosis Foundation and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to screen women older than 65 for osteoporosis.
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