What is a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) T-score and how is it defined?

Updated: Sep 26, 2019
  • Author: Monique Bethel, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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DXA provides the patient’s T-score, which is the BMD value compared with that of control subjects who are at their peak BMD. [5, 6, 7, 8] World Health Organization (WHO) criteria define a normal T-score value as within 1 standard deviation (SD) of the mean BMD value in a healthy young adult. Values lying farther from the mean are stratified as follows [7] :

  • T-score of –1 to –2.5 SD indicates osteopenia

  • T-score of less than –2.5 SD indicates osteoporosis

  • T-score of less than –2.5 SD with fragility fracture(s) indicates severe osteoporosis

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