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Bone mineral density scans in veterans

Authors Elizabeth Bass, Etienne Pracht, Philip Foulis

Published 15 July 2007 Volume 2007:2(2) Pages 255—261

Elizabeth Bass1,2, Etienne Pracht1,3, Philip Foulis4,5

1VISN 8 Patient Safety Center of Inquiry, Tampa, FL; 2School of Aging Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA; 3College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA; 4James A Haley VA Hospital, Tampa, FL, USA; 5Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, College of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA

Goals: Recent findings suggest the prevalence of osteoporosis among men is under-recognized. The patient population of the Veterans Health Administration (VA) is predominantly male and many elderly veterans may be at risk of osteoporosis. Given the lack of data on male osteoporosis, we provide initial insight into diagnostic procedures for patients at one VA medical center.

Procedures: A review and descriptive analysis of patients undergoing radiological evaluation for osteoporosis at one VA medical center.

Results: We identified 4,919 patients who had bone mineral density scans from 2001–2004. VA patients receiving bone mineral density scans were commonly white, male, over age 70 and taking medications with potential bone-loss side effects.

Conclusions: While further research is needed, preliminary evidence suggests that the VA screens the most vulnerable age groups in both genders. Heightened awareness among primary care providers of elderly male patients at risk of osteoporosis can lead to early intervention and improved management of this age-related condition.

Keywords: bone mineral density scans, osteoporosis, veterans

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