5 doctors weighed in:
How accurate is the heel bone density test?
5 doctors weighed in

Dr. Robert Lang
Internal Medicine - Endocrinology
3 doctors agree
In brief: Depends
The diagnosis of osteopenia and osteoporosis are generally made from a dxa machine that tests the spine and hip.
The heel test is done with a portable device that is used to screen for bone loss. Although accurate statistically, it is not used clinically unless there is not a device that will measure the spine and hip. The heel should not be used to follow the rate of change in the bone density.

In brief: Depends
The diagnosis of osteopenia and osteoporosis are generally made from a dxa machine that tests the spine and hip.
The heel test is done with a portable device that is used to screen for bone loss. Although accurate statistically, it is not used clinically unless there is not a device that will measure the spine and hip. The heel should not be used to follow the rate of change in the bone density.
Dr. Robert Lang
Dr. Robert Lang
Thank
In brief: Very
Very accurate.

In brief: Very
Very accurate.
Dr. Arnold Beresh
Dr. Arnold Beresh
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1 comment
Dr. Robert Lang
Regarding heel density, the International Society of Clinical Densitometry states: "Central DXA measurements at the spine and femur are preferred for making therapeutic decisions and should be used if possible. However, if central DXA cannot be done, pharmacologic treatment can be initiated if the fracture probability, as assessed by heel QUS, using device specific thresholds and in conjunction with clinical risk factors, is sufficiently high. (Examples of device-specific thresholds are provided in the full text documents printed in the Journal of Clinical Densitometry.)"
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