Efficacy of Osteoporosis Diagnosis Using DXA Scans of the Distal Radius in a Group of Male Patients with Osteoporosis: a Retrospective Study

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Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mineral density (BMD), which compromises bone tissue increasing fragility and susceptibility to fracture. It affects nearly 50% of women and 20% of men over the age of 50, and fractures resulting from osteoporosis cause significant morbidity and mortality. Therefore, patients with or at risk for osteoporosis should be identified before rather than after a fracture occurs. The gold standard in diagnosing patients with osteoporosis is dual X-ray absorptiomerty (DXA). The purpose of this study is to evaluate the usefulness of assessing BMD at various parts of the distal radius (ultra-distal, mid-point, one third, and total) compared to the conventional sites (lumbar vertebrae and proximal femur) using DXA to diagnose osteoporosis. This was a retrospective study on 1,641 male patients over the age of 50 who had undergone bone densitometry (DXA scans) of at least one hip, lumbar vertebrae and distal radius. Ordinary regression and correlation analysis was used to assess the association between the lowest of the bone density scores of the hip or lumbar vertebrae and scans at the various sites on the radius. Comparing standardized scores from the radius method with the lowest standardized scores from the hip or lumbar vertebrae, a highly significant correlation was found, R = 0.59, p < 0.001 for the left UD radius, R =0.59, p < 0.001 for left MD radius, R =0.54, p < 0.001 for the left 1/3 radius, and R =0.60, p < 0.001 for the total left radius. The results indicate that the left radius total is the most accurate in diagnosing osteoporosis in our study population. The results of this study can have far-reaching psychosocio-economic implications showing that DXA scans of the distal radius can be used to effectively diagnose osteoporosis by using inexpensive, low-technology, portable scanners. These findings are particularly relevant to the needs of the undeserved rural populations of Central Appalachia.


Johnson City, TN

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