Fat Mass Measured by DXA Varies with Scan Velocity


Research Department of Human Nutrition, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Rolighedsvej 30, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark. E-mail: eva.black@dadlnet.dk


Objective: To study the influence of scan velocities of DXA on the measured size of fat mass, lean body mass, bone mineral content and density, and total body weight.

Research Methods and Procedures: The subjects were 71 healthy white adults, 38 women and 33 men. The mean age was 41.7 ± 13.5 years and body mass index was 28.6 ± 5.6 kg/m2. The subjects were scanned consecutively in slow, medium, and fast scan mode by a Lunar DPX-IQ DXA scanner.

Results: Throughout the body mass index and sagittal height ranges, scanned lean body mass significantly decreased with higher scan velocity and lean body mass was 2.7% lower in fast than in medium mode (p < 0.0001). In contrast, fat mass, percentage of body fat, and bone mineral contents were higher with increasing scan velocity. Areas not analyzed by the scanner, so called blue spots, increased with scan velocity and sagittal height, and their presence significantly enhanced the error. Body weight estimated by DXA in slow mode was −0.8% lower than scale weight in the women (p < 0.001) and −0.2% in men (not significant), and the difference was greater with increasing scan velocity.

Discussion: Scan velocity significantly influences the measured fat mass size, lean body mass, bone mineral content, and body weight. To obtain the most accurate results, slow mode is preferable and fast scans should be avoided. Future studies should report and take scan velocity into consideration.