Bone mineral density after spinal cord injury: A reliable method for knee measurement

Richard K. Shields*, Janet Schlechte, Shauna Dudley-Javoroski, Bradley D. Zwart, Steven D. Clark, Susan A. Grant, Vicki M. Mattiace

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Objectives: To test the interrater reliability of a standardized method to analyze knee bone mineral density (BMD) using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA); to compare spine, hip, and knee BMD of people with spinal cord injury (SCI) with able-bodied controls; and to determine the relation between hip BMD and knee BMD in SCI and able-bodied subjects. Design: Criterion standard and masked comparison. Setting: Primary care university hospital. Participants: A convenience sample of 11 subjects with complete SCI was age and sex matched with 11 able-bodied control subjects. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Four raters analyzed regions of interest according to operational definitions recently developed to standardize the analysis of BMD of the knee. Subjects with chronic SCI and matched controls underwent conventional DXA scans of the spine and hips and "less conventional" scans of the distal femurs and proximal tibias. The relation between hip and knee BMD was analyzed. Results: The knee measurements were highly reliable (femur intraclass correlation coefficient model 2,1 [ICC2,1]=.98; tibia ICC 2,1=.89). Subjects with SCI had lower BMD values than controls at all hip and knee sites (P<.05). Lumbar spine BMD did not differ between groups. Hip BMD was moderately predictive of distal femur BMD (R2=.67), but less correlated with the proximal tibia (R2=.38). Conclusions: Knee BMD can be reliably analyzed using DXA with this protocol. Subjects with SCI have diminished knee and hip BMD. Low hip BMD is associated with low distal femur BMD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1969-1973
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Fractures
  • Osteoporosis
  • Paralysis
  • Rehabilitation
  • X-ray absorptiometry, dual energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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