Characteristics of calcaneus quantitative ultrasound normative data in Chinese mainland men and women

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Quantitative ultrasound (QUS) assessment at the calcaneus, as a safe and reliable method for evaluating skeletal status, is rapidly gaining in popularity. Assessment by QUS provides three parameters of skeletal status: broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA), speed of sound (SOS) and derived data-stiffness index (STI). The objective of the present study was firstly to determine the normative QUS data on healthy Chinese mainland men and women and secondly to investigate the effects of sex, age and body size on these three QUS parameters.


A study cohort consisting of 725 healthy Chinese women and 568 men aged 10-83 years participated in this investigation. The three QUS parameters all exhibited a characteristic mild rise-then-fall pattern with increasing age in both sexes. Younger men and women had similar QUS values, while older women had lower values than older men. Age-related differences were more pronounced among females. Pearson's correlation and regression analysis showed that weight was a major determinant of QUS in both sexes, along with age.


There were some discrepancies between our data and results from other populations, even when the same type of QUS instrument was used, probably as a result of various factors, including ethnic, life-style environment and diet, among others.


These normative data will be useful for comparing the results of individual studies, predicting fracture risk of Chinese men and women and determining diagnostic criteria of osteoporosis by QUS.

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