Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry measurement of bone mineral content in newborns: validation of the technique

Pediatr Res. 1992 Jul;32(1):77-80. doi: 10.1203/00006450-199207000-00015.


To evaluate the applicability of dual energy x-ray bone absorptiometry in newborns, precision and accuracy of the method was tested for very small quantities of mineral ranging from less than 0.5 g to about 4 g of hydroxyapatite using a Hologic QDR 1000 instrument. For six femurs excised from preterm stillborns, the mean precision for bone mineral content (BMC) and bone mineral density (BMD) was 1.2 and 0.8%, respectively. Accuracy based on ash weight indicated a mean overestimation of about 7%. In vivo, the precision was assessed by measuring lumbar spine BMC and BMD (L1 to L5) two or three times in 10 newborns (gestational age, 33 to 40 wk). The mean coefficients of variation were 2.40 and 1.55% for BMC and BMD, respectively. Lumbar spine BMC and BMD were also measured once in 30 full-term infants. Values ranged from 1.17 to 3.90 g for BMC and from 0.192 to 0.356 g/cm2 for BMD. The present study shows that dual energy x-ray absorptiometry provides a valuable new tool for the assessment and management of BMC in low birth weight infants and neonates in general.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon / methods*
  • Absorptiometry, Photon / statistics & numerical data
  • Bone Density*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Femur / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn / metabolism*
  • Infant, Premature
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / metabolism
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results