Phalangeal quantitative ultrasound, phalangeal morphometric variables, and vertebral fracture discrimination

G. Guglielmi, C. F. Njeh, F. De Terlizzi, D. A. De Serio, A. Scillitani, M. Cammisa, B. Fan, Y. Lu, H. K. Genant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to evaluate the association among phalangeal morphometric parameters, amplitude-dependent speed of sound (AD-SOS), ultrasound bone profile index (UBPI), and spinal bone mineral density (BMD) and fracture status. One hundred women (controls, mean age 53 ± 12 years) and 40 osteoporotic women (mean age 59 ± 7 years) with atraumatic fractures, diagnosed by spinal radiographs, were investigated. Quantitative ultrasound (QUS) assessment was performed using the DBM Sonic 1200. Morphological properties of the phalanges were measured from a digitized X-ray image of the hand acquired using industrial film. Spinal BMD was assessed by dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and quantitative computed tomography (QCT). An increase in medullary canal width and a decrease in cortical thickness with aging were observed from the morphometric analysis of the hand radiographs. This phenomenon can be attributed mainly to endosteal resorption. QUS measurements at the phalanges were not significantly related to finger thickness (r <0.20, n.s.). They were significantly correlated to medullary canal ratio (r = -0.57, P <0.0001, for AD-SOS and r = -0.64, P <0.0001, for UBPI) and to cortical thickness (r = +0.52, P <0.0001 for AD-SOS and r = +0.59, P <0.0001 for UBPI). In the discrimination analysis between non-fractured and atraumatic vertebral fracture subjects we found that cortical thickness at the level of the phalanges were similar to lumbar spine BMD. The age and BMI-adjusted odds ratio ranged from 2.0 to 3.1 for QUS, 4.28 for BMD by QCT, 4.1 for BMD by DXA, and 4.1 for cortical thickness. We conclude from these data that phalangeal QUS is related to cortical thickness, which in turn is influenced by endosteal bone resorption occurring in association with spinal osteoporosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-477
Number of pages9
JournalCalcified Tissue International
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2003


  • Bone densitometry
  • Hand phalanges
  • Osteoporosis
  • Quantitative ultrasound
  • Radiogrammetry
  • Speed of sound
  • Vertebral fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


Dive into the research topics of 'Phalangeal quantitative ultrasound, phalangeal morphometric variables, and vertebral fracture discrimination'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this