OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate and compare reliability, costs, and radiation dose of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) to MRI and CT in measuring muscle mass for the diagnosis of sarcopenia.

METHODS: Thirty-four consecutive DXA scans performed in surgically menopausal women from November 2019 until March 2020 were analyzed by two observers. Observers analyzed muscle mass of the lower limbs in every scan twice. Reliability was assessed by calculating inter- and intra-observer variability. Reliability from CT and MRI as well as radiation dose from CT and DXA were collected from literature. Costs for each type of scan were calculated according to the guidelines for economic evaluation of the Dutch National Health Care Institute.

RESULTS: The 34 participants had a median age of 58 years (IQR 53-65) and a median body mass index of 24.6 (IQR 21.7-29.7). Inter-observer variability had an intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) of 0.997 (95% CI 0.994-0.998) with a relative variability of 0.037 ± 0.022%. Regarding intra-observer variability, observer 1 had an ICC of 0.998 (95% CI 0.996-0.999) with a relative variability of 0.019 ± 0.016% and observer 2 had an ICC of 0.997 (95% CI 0.993-0.998) with a relative variability of 0.016 ± 0.011%. DXA costs were €62, CT €77, and MRI €195. The estimated radiation dose of CT was 2.5-3.0 mSv, for DXA this was 2-4 µSv.

CONCLUSIONS: DXA has lower costs and a lower radiation dose, with low inter- and intra-observer variability, compared to CT and MRI for assessing lower limb muscle mass.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Netherlands Trial Register; NL8068.

CRITICAL RELEVANCE STATEMENT: DXA is a good alternative for CT and MRI in assessing lower limb muscle mass, with lower costs and lower radiation dose, while inter-observer and intra-observer variability are low.

KEY POINTS: • Screening for sarcopenia should be optimized as the population ages. • DXA outperformed CT and MRI in the measured metrics. • DXA validity should be further evaluated as an alternative to CT and MRI for sarcopenia evaluation.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's9
TijdschriftInsights into Imaging
StatusPublished - 8-apr.-2024


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