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J Clin Densitom. 2006 Oct-Dec;9(4):475-95. Epub 2006 Aug 9.

Prediction and discrimination of osteoporotic hip fracture in postmenopausal women.

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Nuclear Medicine Division, Geneva University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland; Medical Information Department, Lyon University Hospital, Lyon, France.


Osteoporotic hip fractures increase dramatically with age and are responsible for considerable morbidity and mortality. Several treatments to prevent the occurrence of hip fracture have been validated in large randomized trials and the current challenge is to improve the identification of individuals at high risk of fracture who would benefit from therapeutic or preventive intervention. We have performed an exhaustive literature review on hip fracture predictors, focusing primarily on clinical risk factors, dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), quantitative ultrasound, and bone markers. This review is based on original articles and meta-analyses. We have selected studies that aim both to predict the risk of hip fracture and to discriminate individuals with or without fracture. We have included only postmenopausal women in our review. For studies involving both men and women, only results concerning women have been considered. Regarding clinical factors, only prospective studies have been taken into account. Predictive factors have been used as stand-alone tools to predict hip fracture or sequentially through successive selection processes or by combination into risk scores. There is still much debate as to whether or not the combination of these various parameters, as risk scores or as sequential or concurrent combinations, could help to better predict hip fracture. There are conflicting results on whether or not such combinations provide improvement over each method alone. Sequential combination of bone mineral density and ultrasound parameters might be cost-effective compared with DXA alone, because of fewer bone mineral density measurements. However, use of multiple techniques may increase costs. One problem that precludes comparison of most published studies is that they use either relative risk, or absolute risk, or sensitivity and specificity. The absolute risk of individuals given their risk factors and bone assessment results would be a more appropriate model for decision-making than relative risk. Currently, a group appointed by the World Health Organization and lead by Professor John Kanis is working on such a model. It will therefore be possible to further assess the best choice of threshold to optimize the number of women needed to screen for each country and each treatment.

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