When should densitometry be repeated in healthy peri- and postmenopausal women: the Danish osteoporosis prevention study

J Bone Miner Res. 2002 Nov;17(11):2061-7. doi: 10.1359/jbmr.2002.17.11.2061.


Intervention should be considered in postmenopausal women with bone mineral density (BMD) > or = 1 SD below the reference (T or Z score < -1). However, it is unclear when densitometry should be repeated. This study aimed at determining the need for repeat DXA within 5 years in untreated peri-/postmenopausal women to detect declines of T or Z score to below -1 with 85% confidence. A cohort of 925 healthy women (aged 51.2 +/- 2.9 years) were followed within the Danish Osteoporosis Prevention Study (DOPS) for 5 years without hormone-replacement therapy (HRT). DXA of spine, hip, and forearm was done at 0,1, 2, 3, and 5 years (Hologic QDR-1000/2000). The annual loss in SD units was 0.12 +/- 0.10 at the spine (1.3%), 0.10 +/- 0.09 at the femoral neck (1.2%), and 0.07 +/- 0.09 at the ultradistal (UD) forearm (1.0%). Accordingly, T scores below -1 developed earlier at the spine. The need for a future DXA scan to predict declines of T and Z scores below -1 depended strongly on baseline BMD. In subjects with a positive T score, the risk of developing T < -1 remained at <15% for 5 years at all measured sites. A new scan was needed after 1 year if the T score was below -0.5, and after 3 years if the T score was between 0 and -0.5. Slightly longer intervals apply if Z scores are used. Follow-up densitometry in untreated women should be individually targeted from baseline BMD rather than scheduled at fixed time intervals. An algorithm for planning repeat densitometry in perimenopausal women is provided.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon*
  • Bone Density
  • Climacteric
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • Forearm / diagnostic imaging
  • Hip / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / prevention & control*
  • Postmenopause
  • Spine / diagnostic imaging