Correlation of hounsfield unit measurements on computed tomography of the shoulder with dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scans and fracture risk assessment tool scores: A potential for opportunistic screening

Brandon E. Earp*, Jennifer R. Kallini, Jamie E. Collins, Kyra A. Benavent, Scott M. Tintle, Tamara D. Rozental

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The diagnosis of bone mineral density (BMD) abnormalities involves dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), but few patients complete this after a fragility fracture. The assessment of BMD using Hounsfield unit (HU) measurements from computed tomography (CT) scans has been correlated with DXA results in previous studies. We aimed to evaluate the correlation between shoulder CT HU and DXA scores. Methods: Billing databases of 3 academic institutions were queried for patients who underwent both DXA and CT scan of the upper extremity within 1 year of each other. DXA T-scores for spine, hip, and femoral neck were recorded. BMD status was defined based on composite T-scores, using the lowest T-score in the spine, hip, or proximal femur. CT scans were measured for HU over 4 slices, recorded to create a bone column, then averaged. The patients' risks of major osteoporosis-related fracture and hip fracture were calculated using the Fracture Risk Assessment Tool. Results: In total, 300 patients were included. A positive correlation was found between composite T-scores and HU for glenoid and proximal humerus (0.36; 0.17). The proximal humerus HU was significantly associated with the BMD T-score for the hip (P = 0.01); the glenoid HU was significantly associated with BMD T-scores for the hip, spine, and femoral neck (P = 0.002; P = 0.001; P = 0.002). A 10-year risk of hip fracture .3% was associated with lower proximal humerus HU. Conclusions: Our study is the first to discover significant correlations between HU at the glenoid and proximal humerus and risk factors as established by the Fracture Risk Assessment Tool scoring system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-390
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Trauma
Volume35
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bone mineral density
  • FRAX score
  • Fragility fracture
  • Hounsfield units
  • Osteopenia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Shoulder

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