Author(s): Mazess RB, Nord R, Hanson JA, Barden HS
Both femora were measured on 61 normal adults using dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). In a subset of 31 subjects, each femur was scanned once using the conventional leg-positioning device supplied with the densitometer, and once using a new positioning device and software that allowed both legs to be measured simultaneously. In another subgroup (n = 30), subjects were measured three times using the new dual-femur approach to better assess precision error. The data were analyzed for differences owing to the different positioning devices and for differences between right and left sides. The correlation between results with the old and new positioners was high (r > 0.99, standard error of the estimate [SEE] = 0.01-0.02 g/cm(2)). There was no significant difference in the average bone mineral density (BMD) values between the old and new positioner. The precision errors for each femur alone with the dual-femur approach were similar to those reported for the single-femur scans (1 to 2%), but the precision errors for the combined femora were reduced by 30% as expected. The correlation between right and left sides was high (r = 0.94-0.96), and the SEE in predicting one side from the other was moderate for total, trochanteric, and femoral neck BMD (0.05, 0. 05, and 0.06 g/cm(2), respectively). These SEE equate to about 0.5 standard deviation in terms of T-score. Differences in many individual cases between the right and left sides were significantly greater than the precision error. The new dual-femur software and leg positioner allows rapid measurement and analysis of both femora, thereby eliminating the uncertainty between sides.