Fracture prevention by screening for high fracture risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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This systematic review and meta-analysis showed a significant reduction of (major) osteoporotic fractures and hip fractures after screening using fracture risk assessment and bone densitometry compared with usual care. The results indicate that screening is effective for fracture risk reduction, especially hip fractures. To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of population screening for high fracture risk on fracture prevention compared with usual care. MEDLINE and Embase were searched for studies published until June 20th 2019. Randomized studies were selected that screened for high fracture risk using at least bone densitometry, screened in a general population, provided subsequent treatment with anti-osteoporosis medication, had a usual care group as comparator, and had at least one fracture-related outcome (all fractures, (major) osteoporotic fractures, or hip fractures). The primary assessment was the hazard ratio (HR) for fracture-related outcomes. All-cause mortality was a secondary outcome. Random-effects models were used to estimate pooled HRs. We identified 1186 potentially eligible articles and included three randomized studies: the ROSE study, the SCOOP study, and the SOS with a total number of N = 42,009 participants. Respectively, 11%, 15%, and 18% of the participants in the intervention group started medication. Meta-analysis showed a statistically significant and clinically relevant reduction of osteoporotic fractures (HR = 0.95, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.89–1.00), major osteoporotic fractures (HR = 0.91; 95%CI = 0.84–0.98), and hip fractures (HR = 0.80; 95%CI = 0.71–0.91), but no reduction of all fractures (HR = 0.95; 95%CI = 0.89–1.02). The pooled HR for the secondary outcome all-cause mortality was 1.04 (95% CI = 0.95–1.14). Numbers needed to screen to prevent one fracture were 247 and 272 for osteoporotic fractures and hip fractures, respectively (corresponding to 113 and 124 performed bone densitometry examinations, and 25 and 28 persons being treated). This meta-analysis showed that population screening is effective to reduce osteoporotic fractures and hip fractures. Implementation of screening in older women should be considered as serious option to prevent osteoporotic fractures, especially hip fractures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)251-257
Number of pages7
JournalOsteoporosis international
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • Fracture prevention
  • Fracture risk assessment
  • Meta-analysis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Screening

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