Osteoporosis International

, Volume 13, Issue 12, pp 948–954

A Comparison of Phantoms for Cross-Calibration of Lumbar Spine DXA


  • D. Pearson
    • Department of Medical Physics
  • S. A. Cawte
    • Department of Radiology, Nottingham City Hospital NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK
  • D. J. Green
    • Department of Radiology, Nottingham City Hospital NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s001980200132

Cite this article as:
Pearson, D., Cawte, S. & Green, D. Osteoporos Int (2002) 13: 948. doi:10.1007/s001980200132


The aim of this project was to compare three phantoms used for cross-calibration of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometers with an in vivo cross-calibration. The phantoms used were the Bona Fide Phantom (BFP), the European Spine Phantom (ESP) and the GE Lunar Aluminum Spine Phantom (ASP). The cross calibration was for L2–L4 lumbar spine bone mineral density (BMD) on a GE Lunar DPX-L and Hologic QDR 2000. The in vivo cross-calibration was obtained using 72 subjects (61 female, 11 male; mean age 49 years, range 14–84 years). The phantoms were measured 10 times without repositioning on both instruments. A further, long-term cross-calibration was obtained with the BFP over a 9 month period. The true linear relationship between the two instruments was calculated used a standardized principal components method. The mean residuals were calculated between each phantom cross-calibration line and the in vivo data to obtain a measure of the goodness of fit between the phantom cross-calibration and the in vivo data. There was no significant difference between the in vitro and in vivo cross-calibrations. The long-term BFP cross-calibration gave an in vitro cross-calibration that is closest to the in vivo cross-calibration in this group of subjects. When calculating Hologic QDR BMD from results on the GE Lunar DPX-L, the ASP underestimates Hologic QDR 2000 BMD by 4% at high BMD and overestimates by 4% at low BMD. The ESP cross-calibration overestimates Hologic QDR2000 BMD by 1% at high BMD and 4% at low BMD. The BFP performs best, overestimating Hologic QDR2000 BMD by between 1.2% and 1.8%, whilst the difference between the long-term BFP cross-calibration and the in vivo data is less than 1% over the range of BMD covered.

Key words:Bone mineral density – Cross-calibration – Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry – Phantom
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© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2002