How the New Hologic Hip Normal Reference Values Affect the Densitometric Diagnosis of Osteoporosis
In February 1997, Hologic supplied new software to all QDR dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) machines replacing the previous femoral normative reference database with the NHANES III normative data. In addition to changing the normative database (and therefore T-scores) for all regions of the hip, the new software has changed the primary region of interest from the femoral neck to the total hip. In the present study we examined how these changes influence the densitometric diagnosis of osteoporosis in a large clinical referral population (n= 2311, mean age 62.7 years). The patients had spine and hip DXA performed at either of two centers using a Hologic QDR-2000 over a 4-year period. T-scores were derived for each patient using both previous and current young normal reference databases. Intraindividual differences in T-scores were calculated. The prevalence of osteoporosis based on the two normative databases and the difference between the prevalence was calculated for each skeletal site. The average paired difference between current and previous T-scores at femoral neck is 0.64, the difference increasing with age. Using the new normative database, the percentage of osteoporotic patients decreases from 49% of all patients at the femoral neck to 28% at the femoral neck and 20% at the total hip. In conclusion, the densitometric diagnosis of osteoporosis will be affected in a significant proportion of women as a result of the implementation of the new hip normative database supplied by Hologic. Whether this will translate into fewer patients being treated remains to be seen.
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