A comparison of a peripheral DXA system with conventional densitometry of the spine and femur

R Patel, G M Blake, A Jefferies, P M Sautereau-Chandley, I Fogelman

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Because of the perceived high cost of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) studies of the spine and femur, there is renewed interest in small, low-cost X-ray devices for scanning the peripheral skeleton. We have compared forearm bone mineral density (BMD) measurements (distal and ultradistal sites) performed on a DTX-200 (Osteometer MediTech, Hoersholm, Denmark) with spine (L1–L4) and femur (femoral neck and total hip sites) scans performed on a QDR-4500 (Hologic, Waltham, MA) in 172 white UK women aged 22–84 yr with a view to establishing differences caused by inconsistent reference ranges and different age-related changes in BMD. All BMDs were expressed as T-scores using the manufacturers' reference ranges for the forearm and spine, and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) ranges for the femur. Linear regression between peripheral and axial sites gave correlation coefficients r = 0.71–0.74 and roof mean standard errors (RMSE) 0.88–1.14 in T-score units. Subjects were divided into the following five age groups: <40 yr; 40–49 yr; 50–59 yr; 60–69 yr and ≥70 yr. A large systematic difference between distal and ultradistal T-scores (mean ΔT = 0.59, SEM = 0.05) was found affecting all age groups. When the mean difference in T-score between each forearm site (distal, ultradistal) and each axial site (spine, femoral neck, total hip) was examined for premenopausal subjects (n = 58) the mean difference between forearm and axial T-score showed a consistent negative offset (ΔT = −0.41 to −0.48) for the distal forearm site and a consistent positive offset (ΔT = +0.30 to +0.37) for the ultradistal site. When interpreting results in postmenopausal women, age-related T-score changes in the forearm were in close agreement with the femoral neck region of exterest (ROI), but systematic differences were found between the forearm and the spine and total hip sites. The two forearm and three axial sites were compared to evaluate the number of postmenopausal subjects identified as osteoporotic on the basis of the World Health Organization (WHO) Study Group criteria (T-score <−2.5). Although forearm and spine T-scores identified approximately equal numbers of subjects as osteoporotic (distal 38/114; ultradistal 31/114; spine 30/114), the two femur sites identified fewer subjects as osteoporotic (femoral neck 25/114; total hip 16/114). The number for the total hip site was statistically significantly smaller than the spine and forearm sites. In conclusion, we have identified systematic differences between T-score results for a peripheral and an axial DXA device that may have a significant effect on the interpretation of BMD measurements.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)235-244
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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