What is the role of dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) Z-scores in the diagnosis of osteoporosis?

Updated: Jan 20, 2021
  • Author: Rachel Elizabeth Whitaker Elam, MD, MSc; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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DXA also provides the patient’s Z-score, which reflects a value compared with that of persons matched for age and sex. Z-scores adjusted for ethnicity or race should be used in the following patients:

  • Premenopausal women
  • Men younger than 50 years
  • Children

Z-score values of –2.0 SD or lower are defined as "below the expected range for age" and those above –2.0 SD as "within the expected range for age." The diagnosis of osteoporosis in these groups should not be based on densitometric criteria alone.

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