Advances in image quality from modern dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanners now allow near radiograph-like quality images at a low radiation dose. This opens potential new applications for the use of DXA scanners to study other musculoskeletal conditions, such as osteoarthritis, which is often investigated by visual assessment of radiographs. Together, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are the 2 most common musculoskeletal conditions, both of which primarily affect older people. The aim of this study was to determine whether Kellgren-Lawrence grading of DXA images can be used to grade hip osteoarthritis as effectively as radiographs. People who had attended for recent pelvic radiographs underwent DXA of hips (50 hips from 25 people) using a GE Healthcare iDXA scanner. Three observers assigned Kellgren-Lawrence grades to each image, and grading was repeated at least 1 week apart. Intraobserver and interobserver reliability for radiographs and DXA images were calculated using quadratic-weighted kappa (QWK). People were recalled 12 months later, and the tests were repeated with both the radiograph and DXA scans taken within 2 weeks of each other. Hip DXA intraobserver reproducibility achieved a QWK range of 0.88-0.95 and interobserver reproducibility of 0.85-0.88, similar to QWK from hip radiographs. Intraobserver reliability between subject-matched radiograph and iDXA images revealed QWK ranging between 0.80 and 0.88. Reproducibility of hip osteoarthritis grading using DXA was comparable with that of radiographs in this study and similar to repeatability scores previously published in literature. Given the lower radiation dose and the opportunity to simultaneously investigate osteoporosis, DXA presents an attractive imaging option for osteoarthritis.
- bone mineral density