Comparison of Speed of Sound Measures Assessed by Multisite Quantitative Ultrasound to Bone Mineral Density Measures Assessed by Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry in a Large Canadian Cohort: the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study (CaMos)

J Clin Densitom. Apr-Jun 2016;19(2):234-41. doi: 10.1016/j.jocd.2015.04.004. Epub 2015 Jun 6.


Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is an important tool for the estimate of fracture risk through the measurement of bone mineral density (BMD). Similarly, multisite quantitate ultrasound can prospectively predict future fracture through the measurement of speed of sound (SOS). This investigation compared BMD (at the femoral neck, total hip, and lumbar spine) and SOS measures (at the distal radius, tibia, and phalanx sites) in a large sample of randomly-selected and community-based individuals from the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study. Furthermore, mass, height, and age were also compared with both measures. There were 4123 patients included with an age range of 30-96.8 yr. Pearson product moment correlations between BMD and SOS measures were low (0.21-0.29; all p<0.001), irrespective of site. Mass was moderately correlated with BMD measures (0.40-0.58; p<0.001), but lowly correlated with SOS measures (0.03-0.13; p<0.05). BMD and SOS were negatively correlated to age (-0.17 to -0.44; p<0.001). When regression analyses were performed to predict SOS measures at the 3 sites, the models predicted 20%-23% of the variance, leaving 77%-80% unaccounted for. The SOS measures in this study were found to be largely independent from BMD measures. In areas with no or limited access to DXA, the multisite quantitative ultrasound may act as a valuable tool to assess fracture risk. In locales with liberal access to DXA, the addition of SOS to BMD and other clinical risk factors may improve the identification of those patients at high risk for future fracture.

Keywords: Bone mineral density; dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry; quantitative ultrasound; speed of sound.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon / methods*
  • Aged
  • Bone Density*
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comparative Effectiveness Research
  • Female
  • Femur / diagnostic imaging
  • Femur Neck / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis* / diagnosis
  • Osteoporosis* / epidemiology
  • Ultrasonography / methods*