Purpose: To study the association of quantitative ultrasound (US) parameters and bone mineral density (BMD) in patients with and patients without recent fractures.
Materials and methods: The authors studied 4,698 women (69 years or older) who had sustained 1,363 new fractures, including 106 hip fractures, during the 7 years prior to the study. Broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA) and other velocity parameters were measured by means of quantitative US of the calcaneus. BMD was measured at the spine, hip, and calcaneus.
Results: The standardized age-adjusted odds ratio for all fractures was 1.5 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.4, 1.7) for BUA and up to 1.6 (95% CI = 1.5, 1.7) for BMD. For hip fractures, the odds ratio was 1.9 (95% CI = 1.5, 2.4) for BUA and up to 2.6 (95% CI = 2.0,3.4) for BMD. Sensitivity and specificity with BUA, velocity parameters, and BMD were comparable. Results of multivariate analysis showed that both BUA and BMD were independently associated with fractures and that combined measurements improved sensitivity and specificity.
Conclusion: Quantitative US parameters are strongly associated with risk of fracture and partly independent of BMD. This simple, low-cost, portable, and radiation-free approach may complement bone densitometry in assessing risk of osteoporotic fracture.