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    Given the prevalence and costs induced by osteoarthritis (OA), it is necessary to find a cheap and safe technique to evaluate it reliably. To assess the value of the lateral dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) spine scans for the diagnosis of disc degeneration. Seventy-seven individuals aged 18 and over, with or without disc degeneration, had both lateral thoracolumbar spine radiographs and DXA spine scans (≤6months between both exams). Disc degeneration was assessed using the Lane score. The images of 20 randomly selected individuals were assessed by two readers. Almost 13% of the thoracic levels were not assessable on the DXA scans. For the identification of the intervertebral levels on the DXA scans as interpretable or not, the intra-reader agreement was good (κ=0.81) and the inter-reader agreement was fair (κ=0.27-0.36). For the diagnostic criteria (osteophytes, disc space narrowing, osteosclerosis, overall grade), the intra-reader agreement was excellent for the radiographs (κ=0.89-0.92), good for the DXA scans (κ=0.64-0.83) and fair to moderate for the between-method comparison (κ=0.25-0.44). The inter-reader agreement was moderate to good for the radiographs (κ=0.49-0.66) and fair to good for the DXA scans (κ=0.32-0.74). In the per patient analysis (the most severe grade), the intra-reader agreement was excellent for the radiographs (κ=0.85-0.94), moderate to excellent for the DXA scans (κ=0.53-0.85) and poor to good for the between-methods comparison (κ=0.17-0.63). Our results do not support the use of DXA scans for the assessment of thoracolumbar disc degeneration. Copyright © 2020 Société française de rhumatologie. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.


    Sarah Douvier, Roland Chapurlat, Charline Estublier, Pawel Szulc. Reliability of the assessment of disc degeneration on the lateral DXA scans. Joint bone spine. 2021 May;88(3):105123

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    PMID: 33346108

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