Osteoporosis International

, Volume 16, Issue 12, pp 1565–1575

Comparison of questionnaire and quantitative ultrasound techniques as screening tools for DXA

Original Article


The aim of the study is to assess the sensitivity and specificity of different techniques and their ability to act as screening tools in relation to dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in a group of 208 postmenopausal women. In this study we examined eight screening systems for the diagnosis of osteoporosis, the osteoporosis self-assessment tool (OST), the osteoporosis risk assessment instrument (ORAI), the osteoporosis index of risk (OSIRIS), a risk index derived using data from the study of osteoporotic fractures (SOFSURF), the simple calculated osteoporosis risk estimation (SCORE), patient body weight (pBW), along with two ultrasound based systems, the Sunlight Omnisense (Sunlight Medical, Rehovot, Israel) and the CUBA Clinical (McCue plc, Winchester, UK). The sensitivity and specificity of the different techniques in relation to DXA were plotted as receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curves at three different levels (DXA T-score −2.5 osteoporosis, −2 and −1 osteopenia). The areas under the curves (AUC) were calculated and showed broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA) at the calcaneus to provide consistently the highest AUC (0.77–0.81). The velocity of sound (VOS) of the calcaneus (AUC =0.72–0.76) was equally good, but was out-performed by some of the questionnaire systems (AUC =0.66–0.79). Both the questionnaire systems and the CUBA Clinical out-perform the Sunlight Omnisense (AUC =0.58–0.7), which showed comparable performance with body weight (AUC =0.66–0.69). The results show that QUS is capable of selecting patients with low bone density as measured by DXA. A patient displaying a low QUS value should be followed up with a DXA scan to confirm the diagnosis.


DXA Osteoporosis Screening Sensitivity Specificity Ultrasound scanners 


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. B. Cook
    • 1
  • D. Collins
    • 2
  • J. Tucker
    • 3
  • P. Zioupos
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Materials and Medical SciencesCranfield University Postgraduate Medical SchoolShrivenhamUK
  2. 2.Department of RheumatologyGreat Western HospitalSwindonUK
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyGreat Western HospitalSwindonUK

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