Unknown osteoporosis in older patients admitted to post-acute rehabilitation

  • Kristof MajorEmail author
  • Stefanie Monod
  • Christophe J. Bula
  • Hélène Krief
  • Didier Hans
  • Olivier Lamy
  • Marc-Antoine Krieg
Original Article



Osteoporotic fractures are associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and increased health care use. As the number of older adults increases, identifying those at increased risk for osteoporotic fractures has become of utmost importance to providing them with preventive and therapeutic interventions.


To determine the prevalence of unknown clinical and densitometric osteoporosis and to investigate the performance of different diagnostic strategies for osteoporosis in elderly patients admitted to rehabilitation.


This is an observational study. Eligible participants were older adults admitted to rehabilitation in an academic hospital in Switzerland over an 11-month period. Patients with previously unknown osteoporosis underwent dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), vertebral fracture assessment (VFA), and history review for past fractures.


Complete assessment was available for 252 patients. Previously undiagnosed osteoporosis was identified in 62.3% of these patients, a proportion that was higher among women (71.5%) than men (44.8%). DXA proved most sensitive, followed by VFA and history review. Results differed across gender: DXA remained the most sensitive single test among women, but VFA proved most sensitive in men. The best test to combine with history review was DXA in women (detection increasing from 47.5 to 93.2%) and VFA in men (detection increasing from 35.9 to 84.6%).


Prevalence of previously unknown osteoporosis appears very high in elderly patients admitted to post-acute rehabilitation. The combination of history review of previous fractures with DXA in women and with VFA in men appears the best two-step strategy to improving detection of osteoporosis in this population.


Osteoporosis Screening or diagnosis or detection Older patients Rehabilitation 



This study was funded by internal research fund.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest for this study.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and cantonal research committee (Human Research Ethical Committee of Vaud Canton, Switzerland (Protocol Number 04/10) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geriatric Medicine and Geriatric RehabilitationLausanne University Hospital, CHUVLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Bone Disease CenterLausanne University HospitalLausanneSwitzerland

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