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Pediatrics. 2011 Jan;127(1):189-94. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-2961. Epub 2010 Dec 27.

Clinical report—bone densitometry in children and adolescents.


Concern for bone fragility in children and adolescents has led to increased interest in bone densitometry. Pediatric patients with genetic and acquired chronic diseases, immobility, and inadequate nutrition may fail to achieve the expected gains in bone size, mass, and strength, which leaves them vulnerable to fracture. In older adults, bone densitometry has been shown to predict fracture risk and reflect response to therapy. The role of densitometry in the management of children at risk of bone fragility is less certain. This clinical report summarizes the current knowledge about bone densitometry in the pediatric population, including indications for its use, interpretation of results, and its risks and costs. This report emphasizes consensus statements generated at the 2007 Pediatric Position Development Conference of the International Society of Clinical Densitometry by an international panel of bone experts. Some of these recommendations are evidence-based, and others reflect expert opinion, because the available data are inadequate. The statements from this and other expert panels have provided general guidance to the pediatrician, but decisions about ordering and interpreting bone densitometry still require clinical judgment. Ongoing studies will help to better define the indications and best methods for assessing bone strength in children and the clinical factors that contribute to fracture risk.

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