Discordance between quantitative ultrasound and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in bone mineral density: The Vietnam Osteoporosis Study

Elsevier BV
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Osteoporosis and Sarcopenia, 2021, 7, (1), pp. 6-10
Issue Date:
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Calcaneal quantitative ultrasound measurement (QUS) has been considered an alternative to dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) based bone mineral density (BMD) for assessing bone health. This study sought to examine the utility of QUS as an osteoporosis screening tool by evaluating the correlation between QUS and DXA.


The study was a part of the Vietnam Osteoporosis Study that involved 1270 women and 773 men aged 18 years and older. BMD at the femoral neck, total hip and lumbar spine was measured using DXA. Osteoporosis was diagnosed based on the femoral neck T-score using World Health Organization criteria. Broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA) at the calcaneus was measured by QUS. The concordance between BUA and BMD was analyzed by the linear regression model.


In all individuals, BUA modestly correlated with femoral neck BMD (r = 0.35; P < 0.0001) and lumbar spine BMD (r = 0.34; P < 0.0001) in both men and women. In individuals aged 50 years and older, approximately 16% (n = 92/575) of women and 3.2% (n = 10/314) of men were diagnosed to have osteoporosis. Only 0.9% (n = 5/575) women and 1.0% (n = 3/314) men were classified as "Low BUA". The kappa coefficient of concordance between BMD and BUA classification was 0.09 (95% CI, 0.04 to 0.15) for women and 0.12 (95% CI, 0.03 to 0.22) for men.


In this population-based study, QUS BUA modestly correlated with DXA BMD, suggesting that BUA is not a reliable method for screening of osteoporosis.
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