Purpose: To prospectively validate a method to accurately and rapidly differentiate normal from abnormal spinal bone mineral density (BMD) using colored abdominal CT images. Methods: For this prospective observational study, 196 asymptomatic women ≥ 50 years of age presenting for screening mammograms underwent routine nonenhanced CT imaging of the abdomen. The CT images were processed with software designed to generate sagittal colored images with green vertebral trabecular bone indicating normal BMD and red indicating abnormal BMD (low BMD or osteoporosis). Four radiologists evaluated L1/L2 BMD on sagittal images using visual assessment of grayscale images, quantitative measurements of mean vertebral attenuation, and visual assessment of colored images. Mean BMD values at L1/L2 using quantitative CT with a phantom served as the reference standard. The average accuracy and time of interpretation were calculated. Inter-observer agreement was assessed using intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). Results: Mean attenuation at L1/L2 was highly correlated with mean BMD (r = 0.96/0.91, p < 0.001 for both). The average accuracy and mean time to assess BMD among four readers for differentiating normal from abnormal BMD was 66% and 6.0 s using visual assessment of grayscale images, 88% and 15.2 s using quantitative measurements of mean vertebral attenuation, and 92% and 2.1 s using visual assessment of colored images (p < 0.001 and p < 0.001, respectively). Inter-observer agreement was poor using visual assessment of grayscale images (ICC:0.31), good using quantitative measurements of mean vertebral attenuation (ICC:0.73), and excellent using visual assessment of colored images (ICC:0.90). Conclusion: Detection of abnormal BMD using colored abdominal CT images was highly accurate, rapid, and had excellent inter-observer agreement.
- Bone mineral density
- Computed tomography
- Quantitative CT
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging