Quality in dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans

Academic Article


  • Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is the gold standard for measuring bone mineral density (BMD), making the diagnosis of osteoporosis, and for monitoring changes in BMD over time. DXA data are also used in the determination of fracture risk. Procedural steps in DXA scanning can be broken down into scan acquisition, analysis, interpretation, and reporting. Careful attention to quality control pertaining to these procedural steps should theoretically be beneficial in patient management. Inattention to procedural steps and errors that may occur at each step has the possibility of providing information that would inform inappropriate clinical decisions, generating unnecessary healthcare expenses and ultimately causing avoidable harm to patients. This article reviews errors in DXA scanning that affect trueness and precision related to the machine, the patient, and the technologist and reviews articles which document problems with DXA quality in clinical and research settings. An understanding of DXA errors is critical for DXA quality; programs such as certification of DXA technologists and interpreters help in assuring quality bone densitometry. As DXA errors are common, pay for performance requiring DXA technologists and interpreters to be certified and follow quality indicators is indicated.
  • Published In

  • BONE  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Morgan SL; Prater GL
  • Start Page

  • 13
  • End Page

  • 28
  • Volume

  • 104