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Lancet. 2001 Feb 3;357(9253):342-7.

Frequency and predictors of osteoporotic fractures after cardiac or liver transplantation: a follow-up study.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Germany.



Osteoporosis and related fractures are a major complication after organ transplantation. The aim of this study was to find out the frequency and predictors of osteoporotic fractures after cardiac or liver transplantation.


235 consecutive patients who had a cardiac transplant (n=105; 88 men, 17 women) or a liver transplant (130; 75 men, 55 women) were followed. Vertebral fractures were assessed by a standardised analysis of spinal radiographs before and annually after transplantation. Clinical and non-vertebral fracture data were noted from hospital records.


In the first and second years after transplantation, the proportion of patients (Kaplan-Meier estimates) who had at least one vertebral fracture was slightly higher in the cardiac group (first year 21%, second year 27%) than in the liver group (first year 14%, second year 21%). In the third and fourth years, one third of patients from both groups had had one or more vertebral fractures. Non-vertebral fractures occurred in nine patients (7%) after liver transplantation and avascular necrosis of the hip head in three patients (3%) after cardiac transplantation. In both groups, no dose-dependent effect of immunosuppressive therapy on fracture development could be identified. Independent predictors assessed by multivariate analysis were age (hazard ratio [95% CI] increase of 5 years, 1.71 [1.1-2.7]) and lumbar bone-mineral density (decrease of 1 SD t score, 1.97 [1.2-3.2]) in cardiac transplantation patients, and vertebral fractures before transplantation (6.07 [1.7-21.7]) in the liver group.


The high frequency of osteoporotic fractures in the 2 years after transplantation and the limitations of reliable fracture-risk predictions, show the need to investigate preventive therapies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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