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Osteoporosis case ascertainment strategies in European and Asian countries: a comparative review

A M Burden 1Y Tanaka 2L Xu 3Y-C Ha 4E McCloskey 5S R Cummings 6C C Glüer 7

Osteoporos Int. 2020 Dec 10. doi: 10.1007/s00198-020-05756-8. 


While many clinical guidelines recommend screening for osteoporosis for early detection and treatment, there is great diversity in the case-finding strategies globally. We sought to compare case-finding strategies, focusing on the approaches used in European and Asian countries. This article provides an overview of the current case-finding strategies in the UK, Germany (including Austria and German-speaking regions of Switzerland), China, Japan, and Korea. We conducted a review of current treatment guidelines in each country and included expert opinions from key opinion leaders. Most countries define osteoporosis among patients with a radiographically identified fracture of the hip or the vertebrae. However, for other types of fractures, or in the absence of a fracture, varying combinations of risk-factor assessment and areal bone mineral density (aBMD) assessed by dual X-ray absorptiometry are used to define osteoporosis cases. A T-score ≤ – 2.5 is accepted to identify osteoporosis in the absence of a fracture; however, not all countries accept DXA alone as the sole criteria. Additionally, the critera for requiring clinical risk factors in addition to aBMD differ across countries. In most Asian countries, aBMD scanning is only provided beyond a particular age threshold. However, all guidelines recommend fracture risk assessment in younger ages if risk factors are present. Our review identified that strategies for case-finding differ regionally, particularly among patients without a fracture. More homogenized ways of identifying osteoporosis cases are needed, in both the Eastern and the Western countries, to improve osteoporosis case-finding before a fracture occurs.Case-finding in osteoporosis is essential to initiate treatment and minimize fracture risk. We identified differences in case-finding strategies between Eastern and Western countries. In the absence of a diagnosed fracture, varying combinations of risk factors and bone density measurements are used. Standardized case-finding strategies may help improve treatment rates.