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Background: A large proportion of the elderly are affected by osteoporosis and subsequent fragility fractures. We aim to assess the relationship between DEXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) scan attendance and socioeconomic status (SES).

Sampling: We surveyed attendance of patients over 50 years who were referred for a DEXA scan after sustaining a low trauma fracture over 4 years from 2008 to 2011. Socioeconomic status (SES) was divided into 5 quintiles (1-most deprived; 5-least deprived) based on the English Indices of Multiple Deprivation. Relationship between SES and attendance was tested using Fisher‘s exact test between quintile 1 and 5 as they represent both ends of SES.

Results: 3851 patients (3081 female, 770 male) were included in our survey. Mean (SD) age was 67(10) years. 11 patients died prior to the scan. Attendance in each quintile is shown in the table below:

There is a relationship between socioeconomic status and attendance at DEXA scans when quintile 1 was compared with quintile 5. Those in quintile 1 were less likely to attend (odds ratio 0.56; 95% CI 0.44-0.7, p < 0.0001).

Conclusion: Our cohort of patients with low trauma fractures has shown that those in a more deprived area are less likely to attend DEXA scans. Residents of more deprived areas may have less knowledge on osteoporosis and have health behaviours and lifestyle choices that are risk factors for osteoporosis. Hence, it is important to target this high risk group for further treatment and management.

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