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Calcif Tissue Int. 2006 Oct;79(4):199-206. Epub 2006 Sep 11.

Application of a triage approach to peripheral bone densitometry reduces the requirement for central DXA but is not cost effective.

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  • 1Clinical Radiology, Imaging Science and Biomedical Engineering, The University of Manchester, Stopford Building, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PT, UK.


A method proffered for the interpretation of measurements from peripheral dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (pDXA) is a triage approach to stratify patients into one of three risk categories; (i) high-treat, (ii) medium-refer for central DXA and (iii) low-reassure. The aim of this study was to apply the triage approach to measures from peripheral scanners and risk indices and stratify patients into one of three risk categories (i), (ii) or (iii). 207 post-menopausal women had central DXA from which they were categorised as non-osteoporotic or osteoporotic. Additional peripheral scans of the left calcaneus were performed on three scanners (GE Lunar Achilles and PIXI, McCue CubaClinical). From demographic details four risk indices were calculated and algorithms combining measures from peripheral scanners and one risk index were obtained. All peripheral measures, risk indices and combination algorithms were good at identifying women at risk of osteoporosis (ROC areas: 0.67-0.82). Each tool stratified varying numbers of osteoporotic and non-osteoporotic women into each risk category using the triage approach. One combination algorithm (PIXI & osteoporosis indices of risk (OSIRIS)) performed best by minimising misclassification (10% non-osteoporotic, 10% osteoporotic) and reducing requirement for central DXA to 36%. However the cost of implementing the triage approach for PIXI & OSIRIS was greater (263%) than central DXA (100%) scanning all women. Although the triage approach was an effective tool at identifying women at risk of osteoporosis the unnecessary treatment of non-osteoporotic women in the high risk category make it impractical. Therefore an alternative more cost-effective method has been suggested.

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