Effect of source strength and attenuation on dual photon absorptiometry
A systematic error in dual photon absorptiometry (DPA) measurements of bone mineral density (BMD) related to source strength has been previously described and attributed to an erroneous algorithm for deadtime correction. Since detected counts (or photon flux) is a product of source strength and attenuation, the effect of various source activities and attenuation depths on BMD calculations were evaluated using a phantom. Ten DPA scans were acquired at two source strengths, 0.3 and 1.0 Ci, and at each of two water depths, 16.4 and 24.5 cm. These activities and depths are within the range encountered clinically. Scans were acquired and processed using a commercially available lumbar spine scanner and software, and were reanalyzed with two upgraded versions of software. Mean BMD obtained with the initial software varied by 2 to 14% with changes in both sources strength and attenuating depth. Software revisions reduced but did not entirely eliminate these differences. The remaining 6% discrepancy is of sufficient magnitude to influence both patient management and research investigations.