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Dig Dis Sci. 2003 Jul;48(7):1355-9.

Longitudinal study of bone mineral density in patients with Crohn's disease.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Medical Center Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Osteoporosis is frequent in Crohn's disease. The aim of the study was to assess the rate of bone loss over time retrospectively and the influence of disease-related factors on bone loss. Twenty-nine patients (8 male), admitted for repeated bone mineral density assessments (BMD) were enrolled. BMD measured by dual energy x-ray absoptiometry was expressed in grams per square centimeter, and as sex- and age-matched Z score. The mean interval between BMD assessments was 41 months, during which period 27 patients used corticosteroids (mean dose 8.6 g) and 21 patients some form of bone protective medication. Initial Z scores at a mean age of 41 years were significantly below zero (spine -1.6 +/- 1.4; femur -1.4 +/- 1.4). Over time, no change in absolute BMD was observed accompanied by an improvement in Z scores. At the same time, an increase in body weight and a decrease in erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) was observed. Multilinear regression analysis demonstrated change in ESR as independent predictor for change in femoral Z score. In conclusion, low BMD is frequent in Crohn's disease, but decline of BMD over time was not found, despite ongoing use of corticosteroids.

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