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Calcif Tissue Int. 2013 Dec;93(6):571-6. doi: 10.1007/s00223-013-9797-4. Epub 2013 Sep 25.

Bone disease in patients awaiting liver transplantation. Has the situation improved in the last two decades?

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  • 1Metabolic Bone Diseases Unit, Rheumatology Department, CIBERehd, Hospital Clínic, University of Barcelona, C/Villarroel 170, 08036, Barcelona, Spain,


In recent years, there has been speculation about the possibility of a reduction in the incidence of fractures after liver transplantation (LT) because of changes in the characteristics of candidates and the use of different immunosuppressive therapies. We analyzed the characteristics of LT candidates (CTC) and compared them with historical data from a group of LT candidate patients (HTC). Data from 60 CTC patients consecutively included in a screening program of metabolic bone disease were compared with data from 60 HTC patients prospectively evaluated between 1992 and 1993. In all patients, we analyzed the clinical and laboratory characteristics, bone mineral density (BMD) dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, and skeletal fractures. Patients in the CTC group were older than patients in the HTC group. The CTC group had lower femoral neck T scores. No differences were observed between groups in the proportion of patients with osteoporosis (22 vs. 30 %, p = ns) or fractures (36 vs. 33 %, p = ns). The percentage of patients with normal BMD decreased from 38 to 20 %. 25(OH)D values were low in both groups. Only 7.5 % of the CTC patients received calcium and/or vitamin D supplementation. The prevalence of fractures among CTC patients was similar to that seen two decades ago. At present, candidates for LT are older and have lower femoral bone mass. Vitamin D deficiency remains frequent; however, calcium and/or vitamin D supplementation is uncommon.

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