Quantifying bone mineral density (BMD) on CT using commercial software demonstrates good-to-excellent correlations with dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) results. However, previous techniques to measure Hounsfield units (HUs) within the proximal femur demonstrate less successful correlation with DEXA results. An effective method of measuring HUs of the proximal femur from CT colonoscopy might allow for opportunistic osteoporosis screening.
(1) Do proximal femur HU measurements from CT colonoscopy correlate with proximal femur DEXA results? (2) How effective is our single HU measurement technique in estimating the likelihood of overall low BMD? (3) Does the relationship between our comprehensive HU measurement and DEXA results change based on age, sex, or time between studies?
This retrospective study investigated the measurement of HU of the femur obtained on CT colonoscopy studies compared with DEXA results. Between 2010 and 2017, five centers performed 9085 CT colonoscopy studies; of those, 277 (3%) also had available DEXA results and were included in this study, whereas 8809 (97%) were excluded for inadequate CT imaging, lack of DEXA screening, or lack of proximal femur DEXA results. The median number of days between CT colonoscopy and DEXA scan was 595 days; no patient was excluded based on time between scans because bone remodeling is a long-term process and this allowed subgroup analysis based on time between scans. Two reviewers performed HU measurements at four points within the proximal femur on the CT colonoscopy imaging and intraclass correlation coefficients were used to evaluate interrater reliability. We used Pearson correlation coefficients to compare the comprehensive (average of eight measurements) and a single HU measurement with each DEXA result—proximal femur BMD, proximal femur T-score, femoral neck BMD, and femoral neck T-score—to identify the best measurement technique within this study. Based on their lowest DEXA T-score, we stratified patients to a diagnosis of osteoporosis, osteopenia, or normal BMD. We then calculated the area under the receiver operator characteristic curves (AUCs) to evaluate the classification ability of a single HU value to identify possible threshold(s) for detecting low BMD. For each subgroup analysis, we calculated Pearson correlation coefficients between DEXA and HUs and evaluated each subgroup’s contribution to the overall predictive model using an interaction test in a linear regression model.
The Pearson correlation coefficient between both the comprehensive and single HU measurements was highest compared with the proximal femur T-score at 0.75 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.69–0.80) and 0.74 (95% CI, 0.68–0.79), respectively. Interobserver reliability, measured with intraclass correlation coefficients, for the comprehensive and single HU measurements was 0.97 (95% CI, 0.72–0.99) and 0.96 (95% CI, 0.89–0.98), respectively. Based on DEXA results, 20 patients were osteoporotic, 167 had osteopenia, and 90 patients had normal BMD. The mean comprehensive HU for patients with osteoporosis was 70 ± 30 HUs; for patients with osteopenia, it was 110 ± 36 HUs; and for patients with normal BMD, it was 158 ± 43 HUs (p < 0.001). The AUC of the single HU model was 0.82 (95% CI, 0.77–0.87). A threshold of 214 HUs is 100% sensitive and 59 HUs is 100% specific to identify low BMD; a threshold of 113 HUs provided 73% sensitivity and 76% specificity. When stratified by decade age groups, each decade age group demonstrated a positive correlation between the comprehensive HU and proximal femur T-score, ranging between 0.71 and 0.83 (95% CI, 0.59-0.91). Further subgroup analysis similarly demonstrated a positive correlation between the comprehensive HU and proximal femur T-score when stratified by > 6 months or < 6 months between CT and DEXA (0.75; 95% CI, 0.62-0.84) as well as when stratified by sex (0.70-0.76; 95% CI, 0.48-0.81). The linear regression model demonstrated that the overall positive correlation coefficient between HUs and the proximal femur T-score is not influenced by any subgroup.
Our measurement technique provides a reproducible measurement of HUs within the proximal femur HUs on CT colonoscopy. Hounsfield units of the proximal femur based on this technique can predict low BMD. These CT scans are frequently performed before initial DEXA scans are done and therefore may lead to earlier recognition of low BMD. Future research is needed to validate these results in larger studies and to determine if these results can anticipate future fracture risk.
Level III, diagnostic study.
D. L. Christensen, K. E. Nappo, J. A. Wolfe, S. Wade, B. K. Potter, J. A. Forsberg, S. M. Tintle, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Uniformed Services University-Walter Reed Department of Surgery Orthopaedic Service, Bethesda, MD, USA
D. I. Brooks, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Department of Research Programs, Bethesda, MD, USA
S. M. Tintle, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Uniformed Services University-Walter Reed Department of Surgery Orthopaedic Service 8901 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20889, USA, email: email@example.com
One of the authors certifies that he (JAF) has received personal fees in an amount of less than USD 10,000 from The Solsidian Group LLC (Kensington, MD, USA), grants in an amount of USD 10,000 to USD 100,000 from Zimmer Biomet Inc (Warsaw, IN, USA), and personal fees in an amount of less than USD 10,000 from Clementia Pharmaceuticals Inc (Montreal, QC, Canada), all outside the submitted work. One of the authors certifies that he (SMT) has received grants in the amount of USD 750,000 from the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP; Fort Detrick, MD, USA), outside the submitted work. One of the authors certifies that he (BKP) has received grants in the amount of more than USD 1,000,001 from both BUMED Wounded Ill and Injured (Falls Church, VA, USA) and CDMRP (Fort Detrick, MD, USA), outside the submitted work.
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Each author certifies that his institution approved the human protocol for this investigation and that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research.
This work was performed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD, USA.
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Received March 19, 2018
Accepted August 16, 2018