, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 79-84

Evaluation of the Simple Calculated Osteoporosis Risk Estimation (SCORE) in Older Caucasian Women: The Rancho Bernardo Study

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Osteoporosis is a major health problem in older women. A risk assessment tool, the Simple Calculated Osteoporosis Risk Estimation (SCORE), has been developed to identify postmenopausal women likely to have low bone mass who should be referred for bone densitometry. The objective of this study was to calculate the sensitivity, specificity and predictive values of SCORE in a community-dwelling sample of older women. A total of 1013 postmenopausal Caucasian women aged 44–98 years provided a standard medical history including history of osteoporotic fractures and medication use. Bone mineral density (BMD) was measured at the femoral neck using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. In accordance with the SCORE protocol, low BMD was defined as 2 or more standard deviations below the mean BMD in healthy young women. Among these older women (mean age = 72.5 years), 67% had low BMD. Using the recommended SCORE cutpoint of 6, the sensitivity of SCORE was 98% but the specificity was only 12.5%. The positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) were 69% and 75%, respectively, meaning that all but 5.5% of the women would be recommended for bone densitometry. Increasing the cutpoint of 11, based on ethnicity and the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve, reduced sensitivity to 80% but improved specificity to 46%. The PPV and NPV were 75% and 53%, respectively, meaning that bone scans would not be recommended for 28% of the women. However, 13% of the women with low BMD would be missed. Analyses restricted to women <74 years of age reduced the rate of recommended bone densitometry but increased the number of women with low BMD who would be missed. We conclude that SCORE has limited value as a method for appropriately referring older ambulatory women for bone densitometry.

Received: 28 December 1998 / Accepted: 30 December 1998