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Clin Chim Acta. 2006 Apr;366(1-2):27-36. Epub 2005 Nov 28.

Markers of bone metabolism in congestive heart failure.

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Department of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, Heart Center Northrhine Westfalia, Ruhr University of Bochum, Georgstrasse 11, 32545 Bad Oeynhausen, Germany.


Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic disease, whose incidence is especially growing in the subpopulation of elderly people. CHF is characterized by dyspnea and fatigue at rest or with exertion, ankle swelling and pulmonary edema. Cardiac transplantation is the ultimate therapeutic measure in patients with end-stage CHF. Some risk factors associated with CHF such as low mobility, renal failure, and prescription of specific drugs may predispose patients to develop osteoporosis. This review article gives an overview about markers of bone metabolism in CHF patients as well as in heart transplant recipients. At first, the physiology of bone metabolism is summarized. Then, a short description of different bone formation and resorption markers is presented. They can be used to characterize actual bone metabolism and can be helpful to explain possible mechanisms of bone loss. Regarding pre-transplant CHF patients, available data indicate that the disturbances in bone metabolism are only subtle. Heart transplant recipients, however, are at increased risk for osteoporotic bone loss due to the use of immunosuppressive agents such as corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors. Preventive strategies are able to normalize bone metabolism and to attenuate the high bone loss during the first year after heart transplantation.

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