In vivo differences among scan modes in bone mineral density measurement at dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry

Michele Bandirali, Luca M. Sconfienza, Alberto Aliprandi, Giovanni Di Leo, Daniele Marchelli, Fabio M. Ulivieri, Francesco Sardanelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Our aim was to estimate the in vivo reproducibility of bone mineral density (BMD) at dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and to compare fast array, array, and high-definition scan modes. Materials and methods: A total of 378 patients (38 males and 340 females; mean age 63 ± 9 years) underwent DXA using a QDR-Discovery A densitometer (Hologic). Considering the three scan modes on lumbar spine and right femur, six independent groups of 30 patients were examined twice (for a total of 180 patients). Least significant change (LSC) and smallest detectable difference (SDD) were calculated. The remaining 198 patients underwent three scans of the lumbar spine (n = 92) or of the right femur (n = 106), one for each scan mode. The student t test and Bland-Altman analysis used were. Scan times were recorded and radiation dose was estimated using the ICRP60 method. Results: Intra-scan mode reproducibility was 98-99 %, corresponding to an LSC of 1.49-2.08 %. The SDD was 0.018-0.023 g/cm2 (lumbar spine) and 0.017-0.019 g/cm2 (right femur). All comparisons among scan modes were statistically significant (p <0.001) but lower than SDDs, i.e. not clinically relevant. Considering lumbar spine and the right femur, scan times were 50 and 38 s for fast array, 98 and 74 s for array, and 195 and 148 s for high definition, respectively; radiation doses were 6.7 and 4.7 μSv for fast array, and 13.3 and 9.3 μSv for both array and high definition, respectively. Conclusion: Since all BMD differences were lower than the SSDs, the three scan modes can be considered interchangeable. As a consequence, although the absolute reduction in time and radiation dose is relatively low, when BMD measurement is the aim of DXA, fast array can be generally preferred.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-260
Number of pages4
JournalRadiologia Medica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Bone mineral density
  • Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry
  • Reproducibility
  • Scan modes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'In vivo differences among scan modes in bone mineral density measurement at dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this