Bone density testing for elderly patients

Repeat bone mineral density imaging does not improve fracture prediction in elderly (75 year old) men and women. This cohort study of 310 men and 492 women indicates that patients who were not treated for osteoporosis after an initial bone mineral density scan would not benefit from a repeat scan because it does not add predictive value.

Yet some older adults who are not being treated for osteoporosis have BMDs repeated every few years, partly because some concerned patients ask for it to be done even more frequently. The value of even the first BMD is questionable in men. 

It is often difficult to know how often to repeat tests. So it is useful to have a study the helps to guide this decision, even if the study is small and the data is a bit stale (patients were followed between 1987-1999).


Berry SD, Samelson EJ, Pencina MJ, et al. Repeat bone mineral density screening and prediction of hip and major osteoporotic fracture. JAMA 2013;310(12):1256-1262.



One thought on “Bone density testing for elderly patients

  1. Pingback: Should You Have a Bone Density Test? | SwissChiropractic's Blog

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