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Obesity increases precision errors in total body dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry measurements

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Karen M. Knapp, Joanne R. Welsman, Susan J. Hopkins, Andrew Shallcross, Ignac Fogelman, Glen M. Blake

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-216
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015

King's Authors


Total body (TB) dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is increasingly being used to measure body composition in research and clinical settings. This study investigated the effect of body mass index (BMI) and body fat on precision errors for total and regional TB DXA measurements of bone mineral density, fat tissue, and lean tissue using the GE Lunar Prodigy (GE Healthcare, Bedford, UK). One hundred forty-four women with BMI's ranging from 18.5 to 45.9kg/m<sup>2</sup> were recruited. Participants had duplicate DXA scans of the TB with repositioning between examinations. Participants were divided into 3 groups based on their BMI, and the root mean square standard deviation and the percentage coefficient of variation were calculated for each group. The root mean square standard deviation (percentage coefficient of variation) for the normal (<25kg/m<sup>2</sup>; n=76), overweight (25-30kg/m<sup>2</sup>; n=36), and obese (>30kg/m<sup>2</sup>; n=32) BMI groups, respectively, were total BMD (g/cm<sup>2</sup>): 0.009 (0.77%), 0.009 (0.69%), 0.011 (0.91%); total fat (g): 545 (2.98%), 486 (1.72%), 677 (1.55%); total lean (g): 551 (1.42%), 540 (1.34%), and 781 (1.68%). These results suggest that serial measurements in obese subjects should be treated with caution because the least significant change may be larger than anticipated.

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