Heel ultrasonography is not a good screening tool for bone loss after kidney and pancreas transplantation

Lynn R. Mack-Shipman, Donna M. O'Grady, Judi M. Erickson, Craig W. Walker, Timothy E. Moore, Tab W. Burkman, James T. Lane, Jennifer L. Larsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Solid organ transplant recipients, particularly simultaneous pancreas kidney recipients, are at high fracture risk. We tested whether quantitative ultrasonography (QUS) of the heel predicts bone mineral density (BMD) by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in solid organ transplant recipients. Methods: Thirty-eight transplant recipients (22 Female/16 Male) were studied. Spine and hip BMD was measured with a Hologic DXA scanner. 'Stiffness' of the heel was measured with a Lunar Ultrasound densitometer and compared with BMD by DXA. Contributing factors to bone loss were also assessed. Results: Mean age was 43.1 ± 1.3 yr. Simultaneous pancreas-kidney, kidney, and pancreas alone transplant recipients were assessed. Mean time post-transplantation was 3.0 ± 0.6 yr. Mean DXA spine T-score was -1.15 ± 0.22 (mean ± SEM) and hip T-score was -1.22 ± 0.20. There was no difference in mean T-score between women and men at the hip or spine. Mean right heel stiffness T-score was -0.97 ± 0.25. There was no correlation between QUS and DXA at either the hip or spine in women or men. QUS had a false negative rate for identifying osteopenia or osteoporosis of 17% compared with DXA. The false positive rate for identifying osteopenia was 61%. Conclusions: The QUS is an unacceptable tool for identifying those at risk for bone loss after kidney or pancreas transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-618
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2004


  • Bone density
  • Heel ultrasonography
  • Osteopenia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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