Original Article

Osteoporosis International

, 20:599

First online:

The Osteoporosis Self-Assessment Tool versus alternative tests for selecting postmenopausal women for bone mineral density assessment: a comparative systematic review of accuracy

  • B. RudAffiliated withOsteoporosis Unit 545, Department of Endocrinology, Hvidovre University Hospital Email author 
  • , J. HildenAffiliated withDepartment of Biostatistics, Institute of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen
  • , L. HyldstrupAffiliated withOsteoporosis Unit 545, Department of Endocrinology, Hvidovre University Hospital
  • , A. HróbjartssonAffiliated withThe Nordic Cochrane Centre

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We performed a systematic review of studies comparing the Osteoporosis Self-Assessment Tool (OST) and other tests used to select women for bone mineral density (BMD) assessment. In comparative meta-analyses, we found that the accuracy of OST was similar to other tests that are based on information from the medical history. By contrast, assessment by quantitative ultrasonography at the heel was more accurate than OST in discriminating between women with high and low BMD. The methodological quality of the included studies was generally low.


Numerous tests are suggested for triaging postmenopausal women for bone mineral density (BMD) assessment by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Previous studies suggest that OST, based on age and weight only, may be as accurate as more complex triage tests. We systematically compare the accuracy of OST and alternative triage tests in postmenopausal women.


We searched PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, citation lists, and conference proceedings. Our main measure of accuracy was the diagnostic odds ratio (DOR). We compared summary estimates of DOR (sDOR) for OST and alternative tests in pairwise meta-analyses by using the Moses–Littenberg approach.


Summary estimates of DOR for OST and the clinical decision rules Simple Calculated Osteoporosis Risk Estimation (SCORE) and Osteoporosis Risk Assessment Instrument (ORAI) did not differ significantly in white women (relative sDOR: 0.57–1.17, all p ≥ 0.11). By contrast, sDOR was higher for Stiffness Index assessed by calcaneal quantitative ultrasonography than for OST (relative sDOR: 1.9, p = 0.005). Studies were few in Asian and black women. Methodological quality, assessed with the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (QUADAS) checklist, was generally low.


In white women, the accuracy of OST and alternative clinical decision rules was similar, whereas Stiffness Index was more accurate than OST. Low study quality renders transferability to clinical settings uncertain.


Accuracy Bone mineral density Meta-analysis Osteoporosis Self-Assessment Tool Systematic review Triage test