Clinical performance of a highly portable, scanning calcaneal ultrasonometer

S. L. Greenspan, S. Cheng, P. D. Miller, E. S. Orwoll

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44 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to establish a normative database, assess precision, and evaluate the ability to identify women with low bone mass and to discriminate women with fracture from those without for a highly portable, scanning calcaneal ultrasonometer: the QUS-2. Fourteen hundred and one Caucasian women were recruited for the study. Among them were 794 healthy women 25-84 years of age evenly distributed per 10-year period to establish a normative database. Of these, 171 aged 25-34 years were defined as the young normal group for the purpose of T-score determination. Precision was assessed within 1 day (short-term) and over a 16-week period (long-term) in 79 women aged 25-84 years. Five hundred twenty-eight women ranging from 50 to 84 years of age with or without prevalent fractures of the spine, hip or forearm were measured to compare the QUS-2 with bone mineral density (BMD) of the hip and spine. Mean calcaneal broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA) was constant in healthy women from 25 to 54 years of age and decreased with increasing age thereafter. Short-term precision, with and without repositioning of the heel, and long-term precision yielded comparable results (BUA SDs of 2.1-2.4 dB/MHz, coefficients of variations (CVs) of 2.5-2.9%). Calcaneal BUA was significantly correlated with BMD of the total hip (TH), femoral neck (FN) and lumbar spine (LS) in 698 women (r = 0.6-0.7, all p < 0.0001). A similar relationship was observed for LS BMD compared with either TH or FN BMD (r = 0.7, p < 0.0001). Prevalence of osteoporosis in our population (WHO criteria) was 20%, 17%, 21%, and 24% for BUA, BMD of the TH, FN and LS, respectively. Age-adjusted values for a 1 SD reduction in calcaneal BUA and TH and FN BMD predicted prevalent fractures of the spine, forearm, and hip with significant (p < 0.05) odds ratios of 2.3, 2.0 and 2.1, respectively. Areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves for age-adjusted bone mass values predicting prevalent fracture were 0.62 for BUA, 0.59 for TH BMD, 0.60 for FN BMD, and 0.57 for LS BMD; all statistically equivalent. We conclude that the QUS-2 calcaneal ultrasonometer exhibits reproducible clinical performance that is similar to BMD of the spine and hip in identifying women with low bone mass and discriminating women with fracture from those without.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-398
Number of pages8
JournalOsteoporosis International
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 14 2001


  • Bone mineral density
  • Calcaneus
  • Fracture
  • Osteoporosis
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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