Background: Children with severe neurological impairment and intellectual disability are prone to low bone quality and fractures. Objective: We studied the feasibility of automated radiogrammetry in assessing bone quality in this specific group of children. We measured outcome of bone quality and, because these children tend to have altered skeletal maturation, we also studied bone age. Materials and methods: We used hand radiographs obtained in 95 children (mean age 11.4 years) presenting at outpatient paediatric clinics. We used BoneXpert software to determine bone quality, expressed as paediatric bone index and bone age. Results: Regarding feasibility, we successfully obtained a paediatric bone index in 60 children (63.2%). The results on bone quality showed a mean paediatric bone index standard deviation score of −1.85, significantly lower than that of healthy peers (P < 0.0001). Almost 50% of the children had severely diminished bone quality. In 64% of the children bone age diverged more than 1 year from chronological age. This mostly concerned delayed bone maturation. Conclusion: Automated radiogrammetry is feasible for evaluating bone quality in children who have disabilities but not severe contractures. Bone quality in these children is severely diminished. Because bone maturation frequently deviated from chronological age, we recommend comparison to bone-age-related reference values.

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Pediatric Radiology: roentgenology, nuclear medicine, ultrasonics, CT, MRI
Department of Pediatrics

Mergler, S, de Man, S.A, Boot, A.M, Heus, K.G.C.B.B, Huijbers, W.A.R, van Rijn, R.R, … Evenhuis, H.M. (2016). Automated radiogrammetry is a feasible method for measuring bone quality and bone maturation in severely disabled children. Pediatric Radiology: roentgenology, nuclear medicine, ultrasonics, CT, MRI, 46(7), 1017–1022. doi:10.1007/s00247-016-3548-4