Comparison of Vertebral and Femoral Strength Between White and Asian Adults Using Finite Element Analysis of Computed Tomography Scans

Namki Hong, David C. Lee, Sundeep Khosla, Tony M. Keaveny, Yumie Rhee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Given non-optimal testing rates for dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and the high use of computed tomography (CT) in some Asian countries, biomechanical computed tomography analysis (BCT)-based bone strength testing, which utilizes previously taken clinical CT scans, may improve osteoporosis testing rates. However, an understanding of ethnic differences in such bone strength measurements between Whites and Asians is lacking, which is an obstacle to clinical interpretation. Using previously taken CT and DXA scans, we analyzed bone strength and bone mineral density (BMD) at the hip and spine in two sex- and age-matched community-based cohorts, aged 40 to 80 years: Whites (Rochester, MN, USA) and Koreans (Seoul, South Korea). For both the spine and femur, the age dependence of bone strength was similar for both groups, White (n = 371; women n = 202, 54.5%) and Korean (n = 396; women n = 199, 50.3%). For both sexes, mean spine strength did not differ between groups, but femur strength was 9% to 14% higher in Whites (p ≤ 0.001), an effect that became non-significant after weight adjustment (p = 0.375). For Koreans of both sexes, the fragile bone strength thresholds for classifying osteoporosis, when derived from regional DXA BMD T-score references, equaled the clinically validated thresholds for Whites (in women and men, femoral strength, 3000 N and 3500 N; vertebral strength 4500 N and 6500 N, respectively). Using these thresholds, classifications for osteoporosis for Koreans based on bone strength versus based on DXA BMD T-scores were consistent (89.1% to 94.4% agreement) at both the hip and spine and for both sexes. The BCT-based, clinically validated bone strength thresholds for Whites also applied to Koreans, which may facilitate clinical interpretation of CT-based bone strength measurements for Koreans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2345-2354
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • DXA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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