Pitfalls in bone mineral density measurements
- Cite this article as:
- Miller, P.D. Curr Osteoporos Rep (2004) 2: 59. doi:10.1007/s11914-004-0005-3
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Bone mineral density (BMD) measurements have been the single greatest advancement for osteoporosis. BMD measurements have helped define a prefracture diagnosis of osteoporosis, predict fracture risk in postmenopausal women and elderly men, and monitor the course of disease processes that negatively affect bone or therapeutic agents that can improve bone strength. Despite the large amount of clinical, epidemiologic, and basic science data that has advanced our understanding of BMD performance and interpretation, many pitfalls in BMD performance and interpretation pervade the practice of bone densitometry. However, all of these pitfalls can be overcome. Proper quality control and clinical interpretation of BMD computer printout reports are paramount for correct diagnosis, risk assessment, and serial BMD measurements. Though BMD application(s) are a clinical tool that can and should be used by many different primary care and specialty physicians, the performances and interpretations are not simple processes. Proper education and training in the use of BMD technologies provides the means of achieving the great intent that BMD measurements are capable of providing.