DXA scanner offers a new horizon in bone density assessment at St Luke’s Hospital

A £100,000 Hologic Horizon W system, which assesses the strength of patients’ bones and allows specialists to calculate their risk of fractures and osteoporosis, has been installed at St Luke’s Hospital, part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

DXA section manager and clinical technologist Jane Threlkeld said: “The replacement of our previous DXA system with a new scanner, which uses state-of-the-art software, will allow us to future-proof our service and continue to provide a high standard of service to our patients, both new and old.

“The scanner will be used to monitor patients for osteoporosis and will also be a valuable addition to new NHS-funded research that we are planning to undertake. The study uses AI technology to pick up incidental vertebral fractures from routine CT scans and then we can assess the patients on the new DXA machine. The fracture liaison service will then decide if treatment is required to strengthen the bones. The scanner also provides data to help assess what the risk of future fractures may be.”

Each year, more than 4,200 bone density scans are performed at St Luke’s, which treats patients from across Bradford and surrounding districts. The whole scan procedure usually takes around 10 minutes.

Threlkeld continued: “A bone density scan is a quick and painless procedure that involves the patient lying on their back on an x-ray table so an area of the body can be scanned. This is usually the hip and lower spine, and occasionally the forearm.

“As the scanning arm moves slowly over a patient’s body, a narrow beam of low dose x-rays passes through the part of the body being examined. The analysis of the data produced allows us to assess the strength of a patient’s bones.”

Picture: DXA section manager and clinical technologist Jane Threlkeld with bone densitometrist Susan Brain.

Published on page 6 of the May 2023 issue of RAD Magazine.

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