Does a novice technician produce results similar to that of an experienced DXA technician when assessing body composition and bone mineral density?
Persson, C, Shiel, F, Climstein, M & Furness, J in press, 'Does a novice technician produce results similar to that of an experienced DXA technician when assessing body composition and bone mineral density?', International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
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Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry is a commonly used clinical assessment tool for body composition and bone mineral density, which is gaining popularity in athletic cohorts. Results from body composition scans are useful for athletic populations to track training and nutritional interventions, whilst bone mineral density scans are valuable for athletes at risk of developing stress fractures due to low bone mineral density. However, no research has ascertained if a novice technician (accredited but not experienced) could produce similar results to an experienced technician. Two groups of recreational athletes were scanned, one by an experienced technician, one by a novice technician. All participants were scanned twice with repositioning between scans. The experienced technician's reliability (ICC 0.989 - 0.998, percentage change in mean -0.01 - 0.10), precision (typical error as CV% 0.01 to 0.47. standard error of measurement percentage 0.61% - 1.39%) and sensitivity to change (smallest real difference percentage 1.70% - 3.85%) were similar, however superior, to those of the novice technician. The novice technician results were: reliability (ICC 0.985 - 0.997, percentage change in mean -0.03 - 0.23), precision (typical error as CV% 0.03 - 0.75%, standard error of measurement percentage 1.06% - 2.12%) and sensitivity to change (smallest real difference percentage 2.73% - 5.86%). Extensive experience whilst valuable is not a necessary requirement to produce quality results when undertaking whole body dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scanning.