Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry Reports Fail to Adhere to International Guidelines

Alicia Jones, Maylyn Goh, Fran Milat, Peter R. Ebeling, Amanda Vincent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Bone mineral density, measured by dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), is the gold standard for diagnosis of osteoporosis. The utility of DXA relies on the accuracy of scan acquisition, interpretation of data, and the adequacy of reports. The International Society for Clinical Densitometry (ISCD) has published guidelines regarding minimum reporting guidelines. This study assessed whether DXA reports for patients receiving care at an academic teaching hospital adhere to these reporting standards, and determine whether differences exist depending on patient factors and the imaging service. Methods: Patients aged ≥18 years, receiving care at specialist outpatient clinics between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2019, with a DXA report available, were eligible for inclusion. DXA reports were manually reviewed for adherence to ISCD guidelines, with each criterion scored as one point, giving a total score of 14 for baseline DXA scans and 18 for repeat DXA scans. The score was then converted to a percentage. Results: Of 459 DXA scans included, 214 were performed internally at our hospital and 245 performed at 23 external imaging services. Mean (SD) patient age was 60 (16.3) years, and 75.8% were female. The overall median (IQR) report score was 57.1% (42.9, 82.4). ISCD criteria with the lowest scores were recommendation and timing of future DXA scans (included in 1.1% of reports) and investigation for secondary causes of osteoporosis (included in 1.2% of reports). Reports performed internally had significantly higher scores than those performed externally, after adjusting for age, sex, indication, and type of scan (incidence rate ratio 1.83, 95% confidence interval 1.77, 1.89). Baseline DXA reports had slightly higher scores than repeat DXA scans, and, among external imaging services, rural services had higher scores than metropolitan services. Conclusion: This study, the largest comprehensive evaluation of DXA reports, highlights significant deficiencies and variation in report standards between imaging services. This has potential implications for osteoporosis diagnosis and management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-459
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Densitometry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Audit
  • bone mineral density
  • dual X-ray absorptiometry
  • osteoporosis diagnosis
  • osteoporosis management
  • reporting guidelines

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