Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients have an increased risk of developing osteopenia or osteoporosis compared with healthy individuals. Our aim was to compare dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), the gold standard for measuring bone mineral density (BMD), with bone quantitative ultrasound (QUS), an alternative technique for predicting fractures and screening low BMD, at least in postmenopausal populations. We analyzed DXA and QUS parameters to investigate their accuracy in the diagnosis and prediction of bone alterations in a cohort of 224 HIV-1-positive patients. The speed of sound (SOS), broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA) and stiffness index (SI) parameters showed a moderate correlation with DXA, especially with total-body BMD (r coefficient of 0.38, 0.4 and 0.42 respectively), particularly in the female subgroup. In addition, multivariate analysis of HIV-positive patients assessed for vertebral fractures indicated that QUS was more effective than DXA at predicting the risk of fracture. QUS can be used as an additional tool for analyzing bone density in HIV-positive patients and its case of use and low cost make it especially suitable for resource-limited settings where DXA is not employed.
Keywords: Bone; DXA; HIV; QUS.