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Br J Radiol. 2019 Feb;92(1094):20180726. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20180726. Epub 2018 Nov 28.

Population-based opportunistic osteoporosis screening: Validation of a fully automated CT tool for assessing longitudinal BMD changes.

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1 Department of Radiology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health , Madison, WI , USA.
2 Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, National Institutes of Health Clinical Center , Bethesda, MD , USA.



The automated BMD tool was retrospectively applied to non-contrast abdominal CT scans in 1603 consecutive asymptomatic adults (mean age, 55.9 years; 770 M/833 F) undergoing longitudinal screening (mean interval, 5.7 years; range, 1.0-12.3 years). The spinal column was automatically segmented, with standardized L1 and L2 anterior trabecular ROI placement. Automated and manual L1 HU values were compared, as were automated supine-prone measures. L1-L2 CT attenuation values were converted to BMD values through a linear regression model. BMD values and changes were assessed according to age and gender.


Success rate of the automated BMD tool was 99.8 % (four failed cases). Both automated supine vs prone and manual vs automated L1 attenuation measurements showed good agreement. Overall mean annual rate of bone loss was greater in females than males (-2.0% vs -1.0%), but the age-specific rate declined faster in females from age 50 (-2.1%) to age 65 (-0.3%) compared with males (-0.9% to -0.5%). Mean BMD was higher in females than males at age 50 (143.6 vs 135.1  mg cm-3), but post-menopausal bone loss in females reversed this relationship beyond age 60. By age 70, mean BMD in females and males was 100.8 and 107.7  mg cm-3 , respectively.


This robust, fully automated CT BMD tool allows for both individualized and population-based assessment. Mean BMD was lower in men than women aged 50-60, but accelerated post-menopausal bone loss in women resulted in lower values beyond age 60.


This fully automated tool can be applied to routine abdominal CT scans for prospective or retrospective opportunistic BMD assessment, including change over time. Mean BMD was lower in men compared with women aged 50-60 years, but accelerated bone loss in women during this early post-menopausal period resulted in lower BMD values for women beyond age 60.

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[Available on 2020-02-01]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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