Is Osteoporosis of the Spine Common in Patients with COPD?

Researchers Look at the Progression of Osteoporosis in COPD Patients

There is little research on the progression of osteoporosis—including osteoporosis of the spine—and its determinants in patients who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). But it’s known that bone mineral density is generally stable over a 3-year period in patients who have COPD. Although the progression of vertebral fractures has not been specifically assessed in these patients, an increase of vertebral fractures over time is possible.

ResearchIn a newly published study, researchers examined clinically stable outpatients with COPD. They looked at the percentage of these patients who were recently diagnosed with osteoporosis after a follow-up of 3 years. They also evaluated baseline risk factors for the progression of osteoporosis in these patients.

The researchers’ findings were published in an article online in February 2012. The article, “Progression of osteoporosis in patients with COPD: a 3-year follow-up study,” will be published in an upcoming edition of Respiratory Medicine.

The following were assessed at baseline and again at 3 years:

  • 6-minute walk distance
  • Body composition measures
  • Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan
  • Lung function parameters
  • X-spine

What Researchers Learned about the Prevalence of Osteoporosis in Patients with COPD
Researchers found that in 3 years, the prevalence of osteoporosis in patients with COPD increased from 47% to 61%; they observed this was largely due to an increase in vertebral fractures in these patients.

In addition, they found that lower baseline T-scores of the trochanter independently increased the risk of osteoporosis, and baseline vitamin D deficiency increased the risk of osteoporosis 7.5-fold.

The research team concluded that the prevalence of osteoporosis—mostly because of a rise in vertebral fractures—increased over a 3-year period in patients with COPD. They also concluded that baseline risk factors for the development of osteoporosis are vitamin D deficiency and osteopenia in the trochanter.

Updated on: 08/25/16
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