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Calcif Tissue Int. 1999 Jun;64(6):481-4.

Bone mineral density of patients with thalassemia major: four-year follow-up.

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Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 54006 Greece.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the bone mineral density (BMD) of 50 patients aged 9-28 years, with thalassemia major and to assess the alterations of bone density in a 4-year follow-up study. They were measured with a DPX densitometer at the lumbar spine and femur area and divided into three groups: preadolescents, adolescents, and adults. All patients received calcium and vitamin D supplements, and 8 of the 50 received hormone replacement therapy (HRT). All patients had a significantly lower BMD compared with healthy subjects. Mean values of lumbar BMD of the three groups were 1.3, 2, and 3 standard deviations (SDs) lower than those of healthy subjects of the same age. All adolescent patients with normal gonadal function and those who received HRT showed an increase in BMD during the period of the study. Adult patients also showed an increase in bone density as long as the treatment lasted. However, adolescent and adult patients who had hypogonadotropic hypogonadism but could not get therapy showed a decrease in bone density. BMD of patients with thalassemia major shows a good index of bone status which should be evaluated, especially for the determination and follow-up of therapy.

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