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J Clin Densitom. 2009 Apr-Jun;12(2):207-18. doi: 10.1016/j.jocd.2009.01.005. Epub 2009 Mar 24.

Revised pediatric reference data for the lateral distal femur measured by Hologic Discovery/Delphi dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104-4399, USA.


Lateral distal femur (LDF) scans by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) are often feasible in children for whom other sites are not measurable. Pediatric reference data for LDF are not available for more recent DXA technology. The objective of this study was to assess older pediatric LDF reference data, construct new reference curves for LDF bone mineral density (BMD), and demonstrate the comparability of LDF BMD to other measures of BMD and strength assessed by DXA and by peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT). LDF, spine and whole body scans of 821 healthy children, 5-18 yr of age, recruited at a single center were obtained using a Hologic Discovery/Delphi system (Hologic, Inc., Bedford, MA). Tibia trabecular and total BMD (3% site), cortical geometry (38% site) (cortical thickness, section modulus, and strain-strength index) were assessed by pQCT. Sex- and race-specific reference curves were generated using LMS Chartmaker (LMS Chartmaker Pro, version 2.3. Tim Cole and Huiqi Pan. Copyright 1997-2006, Medical Research Council, UK) and Z-scores calculated and compared by correlation analysis. Z-scores for LDF BMD based on published findings demonstrated overestimation or underestimation of the prevalence of low BMD-for-age depending on the region of interest considered. Revised LDF reference curves were generated. The new LDF Z-scores were strongly and significantly associated with weight, body mass index, spine and whole body BMD Z-scores, and all pQCT Z-scores. These findings demonstrate the comparability of LDF measurements to other clinical and research bone density assessment modes, and enable assessment of BMD in children with disabilities, who are particularly prone to low trauma fractures of long bones, and for whom traditional DXA measurement sites are not feasible.

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