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J Ultrasound Med. 2001 Nov;20(11):1219-28.

Evaluation of a gel-coupled quantitative ultrasound device for bone status assessment.

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  • 1Osteoporosis and Arthritis Research Group, Department of Radiology, University of California San Francisco, 94143-1349, USA.



To evaluate a new gel-coupled calcaneal quantitative ultrasound system, Osteospace (Medilink, Montpellier, France), which was designed to assess the status of bone in the calcaneus.


The study group consisted of 215 healthy white women aged 20 to 85 years and 51 white women aged 60 to 86 years with osteoporotic fractures. Fifty-two healthy women aged 50 to 85 years were randomly selected from the healthy cohort as the control group. All the women had calcaneal quantitative ultrasonic measurements. The women with osteoporotic fractures and the control group also had proximal femur and lumbar anteroposterior spine bone mineral density measurements using dual X-ray absorptiometry. Bone mineral density was also measured in a subgroup of 54 women at the calcaneus.


There was a significant inverse correlation of broadband ultrasound attenuation and speed of sound with age (P < .001). Short-term measurement precision values expressed as coefficients of variation were 1.72% for broadband ultrasound attenuation and 0.64% for speed of sound, and standardized short-term precision values were 6.09% for broadband ultrasound attenuation and 3.87% for speed of sound. The correlations between the quantitative ultrasonic parameters and calcaneal bone mineral density were 0.69 (P = .0001) for broadband ultrasound attenuation and 0.45 (P = .0008) for speed of sound. Both quantitative ultrasonic parameters and all bone mineral density measurements of the hip and spine differed significantly between the control and osteoporotic fracture groups (P < .01). Age-, weight-, and height-adjusted odds ratios per SD decrease were as follows: broadband ultrasound attenuation, 1.79; speed of sound, 1.83; spine bone mineral density, 2.34; femoral neck bone mineral density, 1.69; and total hip bone mineral density, 1.85. The areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve for quantitative ultrasound parameters and bone mineral density measurements were close, ranging from 0.75 to 0.80.


This new quantitative ultrasound system can detect age- and menopause-related influences on skeletal status and can discriminate healthy women from those with osteoporotic fractures in a manner comparable with that of bone mineral density measurement by dual X-ray absorptiometry.

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