Quantitative Ultrasound of the Calcaneus As a Screening Tool to Detect Osteoporosis: Different Reference Ranges for Caucasian Women, African American Women, and Caucasian Men

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2004

Publication Title

Journal of Clinical Densitometry


The interpretation of results measured by quantitative ultrasound (QUS) of the heel depends on the population studied. We measured estimated bone mineral density (BMD) of the heel using the Hologic Sahara sonometer. People were studied at county fairs, health fairs, and churches. Subjects were not on treatments that would affect bone density, other than calcium supplementation. This included 823 Caucasian women, 131 African American women, and 301 Caucasian men. In contrast to women, for Caucasian men the squared term for age was not significant, and a straight line of decline was the best fit for estimated BMD. African American women had a standard deviation larger than that reported by Hologic for Caucasian women. We compared a history of self-reported fractures with a subject’s estimated BMD. An estimated BMD of 0.57 gm/cm2 included 75% of all fractures. This cutoff point was associated with increased fracture prevalence in subjects over age 50, relative risk of 1.4. This result corresponds to the Hologic data T-score of –0.2. When used as a screening tool for osteoporosis fracture risk, an estimated BMD of 0.57 gm/cm2 seems reasonable in those subjects over age 50.


This study was supported by unrestricted grants from Merck, Aventis, and Procter and Gamble pharmaceutical companies.

Original Citation

Rothenberg, R, Boyd J., and Holcomb J., (2004). Quantitative ultrasound of the calcaneus as a screening tool to detect osteoporosis: Different reference ranges for Caucasian women, African-American women, and Caucasian men, Journal of Clinical Densitometry, 7:101-110.