Screening for Osteoporosis Risk Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Scoping Review

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Journal of geriatric physical therapy


Background and purpose: Due to potential health-related consequences of osteoporosis (OP), health care providers who do not order imaging, such as physical therapists, should be aware of OP screening tools that identify individuals who need medical and rehabilitation care. However, current knowledge and guidance on screening tools is limited. Therefore, we explored OP screening tools that are appropriate and feasible for physical therapy practice, and evaluated tools' effectiveness by examining their clinimetric properties.

Methods: A systematic search of the following databases was performed: PubMed, PEDro, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and Web of Science. Articles were included if the study population was 50 years and older, had a diagnosis of OP, if the screening tool was within the scope of physical therapy practice, and was compared to either a known diagnosis of OP or bone densitometry scan results. Included articles underwent multiple reviews for inclusion and exclusion, with each review round having a different randomly selected pair of reviewers. Data were extracted from included articles for participant demographics, outcome measures, cut-off values, and clinimetric properties. Results were categorized with positive and negative likelihood ratios (+LR/-LR) based on the magnitude of change in the probability of having or not having OP.

Results: +LRs ranged from 0.15 to 20.21, with the Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (FRAX) and Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (SOF) having a large shift in posttest probability. -LRs ranged from 0.03 to 1.00, with the FRAX, Male Osteoporosis Risk Estimation Scores, Osteoporosis Self-Assessment Tool (OST), and Simple Calculated Osteoporosis Risk Estimation having a large shift in posttest probability.

Conclusion: Tools with moderate-large shift for both +LR and -LR recommended for use are: (1) OST; (2) FRAX; and (3) SOF. The variability in cut-off scores and clinimetric properties based on gender, age, and race/ethnicities made it impossible to provide one specific recommendation for an OP screening tool. Future research should focus on OP risk prediction among males and racial and ethnic groups.



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