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J Clin Densitom. 2005 Spring;8(1):80-6.

Age-related decline in bone mass measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and quantitative ultrasound in a population-based sample of both sexes: identification of useful ultrasound thresholds for osteoporosis screening.

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  • 1Department of Endocrinology & Metabolism, Landspitali-University Hospital, Fossvogur, IS-108 Reykjavik, Iceland.


Quantitative ultrasound (QUS) can be used as a screening tool for low bone mineral density (BMD), but clinical guidelines have not been set. The aim of this population-based, cross-sectional study was to compare age-related changes in bone mass measured by QUS (Lunar, Achilles Plus) and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in a random sample of 1630 individuals (1041 females, 589 males) 30-85 yr of age. Individuals with DXA T-scores < or =-2.5 at the femoral neck or total hip were identified and receiver operating curves (ROCs) were used to calculate cutoff points for QUS. Sensitivity, specificity, and kappa statistics were calculated. Age-related bone loss was significantly larger with QUS than DXA at all sites in women. For men, the curves were similar for QUS and DXA in the hip. Similar correlations were found between QUS and DXA in different age groups of both sexes (0.36-0.60). For women aged 50-65 yr, a QUS T-score >-1.0 was found to be the most applicable for identifying normal BMD. In the 70-85 yr age group, a T-score <-2.5 for women and a T-score <-0.5 for men seemed reasonable cutoffs for identifying normal BMD (sensitivity: 86-93%; specificity: 28-44%; discordance: 33-73%). Calcaneal QUS cannot be used for the diagnosis of osteoporosis according to WHO criteria, but it can be of use to exclude osteoporosis in 30-40% of our cases.

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