Bone loss and fracture after lung transplantation

Elizabeth Shane, Anastasio Papadopoulos, Ronald B. Staron, Vicki Addesso, Daniel Donovan, Carlton McGregor, Larry L. Schulman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Background. Osteoporosis is very common in patients with end-stage pulmonary disease. However, there are few prospective data on fracture incidence after lung transplantation. Methods. We prospectively evaluated changes in bone mass, fracture incidence, and biochemical indices of bone and mineral metabolism in 30 patients who completed 1 year of observation after lung transplantation. All received calcium, vitamin D, and therapy with one or more agents that inhibit bone resorption, initiated shortly after transplantation. Results. Before transplantation, only 20% of the patients had normal lumbar spine (LS) and femoral neck bone mineral density (BMD). After transplantation, 15 patients (50%) sustained significant bone loss at either the LS (-8.6±1.0%) or the femoral neck (-11.3±2.2%). Eleven (37%) patients (10 women) sustained a total of 54 atraumatic fractures. Pretransplantation LS BMD and T scores were significantly lower in those who sustained fractures (-2.809±0.32 versus -1.569±0.29; P<0.01). Fracture patients were more likely to have had pretransplantation glucocorticoid therapy (chi-square 5.687; P<0.02). The duration of pretransplantation glucocorticoid therapy was also longer in fracture patients (4.9±0.8 versus 1.3±0.4 years; P<0.001). Biochemical markers of bone resorption were significantly higher in patients who sustained bone loss and/or fractures. Conclusions. We conclude that fractures are a significant problem in the first year after lung transplantation, even in patients who receive therapy to prevent bone loss. Women with low pretransplantation BMD and a history of pretransplantation glucocorticoid therapy are at greatest risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-227
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - 27 Jul 1999
Externally publishedYes


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