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Device-specific weighted T-score for two quantitative ultrasounds: operational propositions for the management of osteoporosis for 65 years and older women in Switzerland.
The World Health Organization (WHO) criteria for the diagnosis of osteoporosis are mainly applicable for dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) measurements at the spine and hip levels. There is a growing demand for cheaper devices, free of ionizing radiation such as promising quantitative ultrasound (QUS). In common with many other countries, QUS measurements are increasingly used in Switzerland without adequate clinical guidelines. The T-score approach developed for DXA cannot be applied to QUS, although well-conducted prospective studies have shown that ultrasound could be a valuable predictor of fracture risk. As a consequence, an expert committee named the Swiss Quality Assurance Project (SQAP, for which the main mission is the establishment of quality assurance procedures for DXA and QUS in Switzerland) was mandated by the Swiss Association Against Osteoporosis (ASCO) in 2000 to propose operational clinical recommendations for the use of QUS in the management of osteoporosis for two QUS devices sold in Switzerland. Device-specific weighted "T-score" based on the risk of osteoporotic hip fractures as well as on the prediction of DXA osteoporosis at the hip, according to the WHO definition of osteoporosis, were calculated for the Achilles (Lunar, General Electric, Madison, Wis.) and Sahara (Hologic, Waltham, Mass.) ultrasound devices. Several studies (totaling a few thousand subjects) were used to calculate age-adjusted odd ratios (OR) and area under the receiver operating curve (AUC) for the prediction of osteoporotic fracture (taking into account a weighting score depending on the design of the study involved in the calculation). The ORs were 2.4 (1.9-3.2) and AUC 0.72 (0.66-0.77), respectively, for the Achilles, and 2.3 (1.7-3.1) and 0.75 (0.68-0.82), respectively, for the Sahara device. To translate risk estimates into thresholds for clinical application, 90% sensitivity was used to define low fracture and low osteoporosis risk, and a specificity of 80% was used to define subjects as being at high risk of fracture or having osteoporosis at the hip. From the combination of the fracture model with the hip DXA osteoporotic model, we found a T-score threshold of -1.2 and -2.5 for the stiffness (Achilles) determining, respectively, the low- and high-risk subjects. Similarly, we found a T-score at -1.0 and -2.2 for the QUI index (Sahara). Then a screening strategy combining QUS, DXA, and clinical factors for the identification of women needing treatment was proposed. The application of this approach will help to minimize the inappropriate use of QUS from which the whole field currently suffers.
Absorptiometry, Photon, Aged, Bone Density, Epidemiologic Methods, Female, Hip Fractures, Hip Joint, Humans, Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal, Practice Guidelines as Topic, Switzerland, Ultrasonography
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