Arch Osteoporos. 2020 Jan 2;15(1):6. doi: 10.1007/s11657-019-0673-3.
Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry is recognized for measuring bone mineral density. The lack of knowledge can lead to errors both in the acquisition of information and in its analysis and subsequent interpretation. The main errors in Ecuadorian Centers were positioning of the patient to the equipment and incorrect analyzed area.
Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is recognized as the gold standard for measuring bone mineral density (BMD) with acceptable errors, good precision, and reproducibility. However, the training of operators in different centers and countries is not standardized, and the lack of knowledge can lead to errors both in the acquisition of information and in its analysis and subsequent interpretation. The purpose was to determine the most common errors in the performance of bone densitometry from different imaging centers in Ecuador.
Cross-sectional descriptive study. We collected DXA scans from different imaging centers in Ecuador. Data from the DXA scan included city of origin, type of specialist that requested it, and densitometry diagnosis. The DXA images provided were analyzed double blind by experts in the field from Argentina.
From a total of 141 patients with a mean age of 61 ± 10 years, 93.6% were women. About 78% of the DXA scans came from private imaging centers and 22% from public centers, 95% of all came from the city of Guayaquil. The machines used were Hologic 50.4% and Lunar 49.6%. The densitometric diagnosis was 16.3% normal, 46.1% osteoporosis, and 37.6% osteopenia. A total of 112 left hip and 49 right hip scans were analyzed from which 31.2% and 22.4% had errors in patient positioning, respectively, mainly internal or external rotation. About 140 lumbar scans were analyzed from which 21.4% had patient positioning errors (not centered or not straight). Also in 38.5% the vertebral area did not correspond to L1-L4. About 3.5% had artifacts such as a metal bar or implant. The region of interest was misplaced in 24.1% of the lumbar scans and 19.9% of the femur.
DXA quality standards exist but are often not implemented in clinical practice. When studies are performed incorrectly, it can lead to important errors in diagnosis and therapy. Physicians interested in the management of osteoporosis, although not directly involved in the performance and interpretation of DXA, should be familiar with the protocols to minimize errors and allow the proper use of bone densitometry.