Factors affecting the precision of bone mineral measurements. Part 1. Review of experimentally derived results obtained from single photon absorptiometry

Stephen McDonald, John Cormack, Charles A. Evill, Michael R. Sage

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1 Citation (Scopus)


An evaluation of the factors which influence the precision of bone mineral measurements using single photon absorptiometry (SPA) is presented. This incorporates several techniques which have been developed over the past few years to improve the reliability of such measurements. As such, the figures obtained should provide an objective and up-to-date basis for critical comparison with other modalities such as quantitative computerized tomography (QCT), dual photon absorptiometry (DPA) using Gd-153, and quantitative digital radiography (QDR). Under optimum conditions, a precision of 0.3% was achievable for in vitro phantom measurements. Under realistic working conditions, however, a precision of 1.0% for phantoms and 1.4% for clinical studies was found to be more typical for bone mineral content (BMC) measurements. Derived parameters such as bone mineral density (BMD) were generally less reliable, with a precision of 4.7%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-24
Number of pages7
JournalAustralasian Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Mar 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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