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UK reference data for the Hologic QDR Discovery dual-energy x ray absorptiometry scanner in healthy children and young adults aged 6–17 years
  1. Kate A Ward1,
  2. Rebecca L Ashby1,
  3. Steven A Roberts2,
  4. Judith E Adams1,
  5. M Zulf Mughal3
  1. 1Department of Clinical Radiology, Imaging Science and Biomedical Engineering, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  2. 2Biostatistics Group, School of Epidemiology and Health Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  3. 3Department of Paediatric Medicine, Saint Mary’s Hospital for Women & Children, Central Manchester & Manchester Children’s Hospitals NHS Trust, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr K Ward
    Department of Clinical Radiology, Imaging Science & Biomedical Engineering, Stopford Building, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PT, UK; kathryn.a.ward{at}


Background: The use and correct interpretation of bone densitometry measurements in paediatric patients relies on the availability of appropriate reference data. Ideally, such data should be matched for sex, chronological age, height, weight, pubertal development and ethnicity.

Aim: To provide UK-specific reference data for the Hologic QDR Discovery dual-energy x ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanners.

Methods: Healthy, Caucasian children aged 5–18 years were recruited from local schools, colleges, general practitioner surgeries and staff from the University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. Suitable participants had DXA measurements taken of the lumbar spine, hip and total body. Sex-specific reference centile curves for bone mineral apparent density (BMAD; spine and femoral neck) are provided, using the approach suggested by Mølgaard et al. to interpret the scans. LMS (λ, μ, ς) tables for calculation of individual standard deviation scores (SDSs) were produced; a weblink is provided to these tables to allow calculation of an individual child’s SDSs.

Results: The total study population consisted of 442 participants (239 male). The total numbers of scans available for analysis were 431 of the lumbar spine, 426 of the total body and 393 of the proximal femur. Data are provided for clinical interpretation of the spine and femoral neck scans based on BMAD (g/cm3), which reduces the size dependence of DXA areal bone mineral density (g/cm2). The spine and total-body data are also presented for interpretation of results using the approach suggested by Mølgaard et al.

Conclusions: This article provides the first sex-specific and ethnicity-specific reference databases for UK, which should allow the clinician to assess bone mineral density in paediatric patients, measured by the Hologic QDR Discovery DXA scanner.

  • aBMD, areal bone mineral density
  • BMAD, bone mineral apparent density
  • BMC, bone mineral content
  • BMI, body mass index
  • DXA, dual-energy x ray absorptiometry
  • SDS, standard deviation score

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  • Published Online First 30 August 2006

  • Funding: RLA received a Linda Edwards memorial PhD studentship from the National Osteoporosis Society, Camerton, Bath, UK, in 2003. The National Osteoporosis Society funded the initial part of the study (1997–1998).

  • Competing interests: None.

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