, Volume 68, Issue 2, pp 74-82

A comparison of spinal quantitative computed tomography with dual energy X-ray absorptiometry in European women with vertebral and nonvertebral fractures

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Quantitative computed tomography (QCT) was compared to dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) measured in the lumbar spine of 508 European women defined as normal without fracture (NoF), or osteoporotic (OP), with either vertebral fracture (VF), or peripheral fracture (PF). The correlations between QCT and DXA BMD measurements were significantly different in normal and in osteoporotic patients, indicating that the two exams do not measure the same bone aspects. According to ROC curves results, QCT Z-scores separate OP from NoF with better sensitivity than all other measurements. A threshold to differentiate OP from NoF was chosen at Z-score=−1 for DXA-BMD and −1.5 for QCT-BMD. VF patients showed a highly significant decrease in BMD by DXA or QCT. PF patients revealed measurements lower than those of normal subjects but greater than those of VF, calling into question the idea of a diffuse osteoporosis causing nonvertebral fractures that is measurable by spinal DXA or QCT. DXA is weakly dependent upon age, and T-score or Z-score are equivalent for evaluating osteoporosis. QCT depends greatly upon age, and Z-score appears to be more efficient.