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PeerJ. 2013 Aug 27;1:e141. doi: 10.7717/peerj.141. eCollection 2013.

Quantitative ultrasound applied to metacarpal bone in infants.

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Azienda Ospedaliera Città della Salute e della Scienza di Torino, Ospedale Infantile Regina Margherita , Torino , Italy.


Aim. To provide bone status assessment in infancy using quantitative ultrasound (QUS) applied to second metacarpus. Methods. 103 healthy term infants and 3 patients with rickets, aged ≤ 12 months, underwent metacarpal QUS evaluation using QUS DBM Sonic Aurora IGEA (MO, Italy), which measures speed of sound (mcSOS) and bone transmission time (mcBTT). Results. In the total sample, median (interquartile range) of mcSOS was 1640.00 (26.0) m/s and mcBTT 0.82 (0.21) µs. Moreover, reference values for age were obtained based on estimation of the lower and upper percentiles. We observed a statistical significant difference between groups of age for mcSOS (p = 0.016). In a multiple linear regression model, we found a relation between age at enrolment and mcSOS (β = -0.608; p = 0.000) and mcBTT (β = -0.819; p = 0.001). A positive correlation between mcSOS and mcBTT has been observed (r = 0.631; p = 0.000). All the patients with rickets showed values of mcSOS and mcBTT lower than the 10th percentile. Conclusion. Our findings show that this new simple technique appears to be a promising tool for monitoring bone mineral status in pediatric clinical practice and in early life. Furthermore, it could be considered a useful method to investigate and to monitor the role of different factors on programming of bone health and it should be tested as a new method for monitoring subjects with rickets during therapy.


Bone mineral status; Infants; Quantitative ultrasound; Reference values; Rickets; Second metacarpus

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