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Treatment of bone loss in patients with chronic liver disease awaiting liver transplantation

Abstract

Background

Most of the patients awaiting liver transplantation already have osteopenia or even osteoporosis by end-stage liver disease.

In a retrospective study, we investigated the effect of pre-treatment with oral monthly ibandronate (150 mg), vitamin D3 (800 IU/day) and calcium (1 g/day) for osteopenia and osteoporosis caused by end-stage liver disease in patients before and after liver transplantation (LT).

Methods

The bone mineral density (BMD) of the lumbar spine (LS) and the femoral neck was measured prospectively pre- and post-LT in 31 patients with existing pre-transplant osteopenia. Patients had osteopenia of the LS prior to LT (T-score −1.8 ± 1.5) so that the treatment medication was initiated immediately after the diagnosis.

Results

The study group showed a permanently increased BMD with significant differences (g/cm²) from baseline up to 12 months post LT at the lumbar spine (LS: pre-LT 0.80 ± 0.11 g/cm², three months: 0.90 ± 0.08 (P <0.005); six months: 0.95 ± 0.11 (P < 0.008); 12 months: 1.00 ± 0.09 -0.85 (P <0.012).

Conclusion

The combined pre- and post-operative treatment with oral ibandronate had significantly improved bone mineral density of the lumbar spine at 3, 6 and 12 months post LT. The immediate post-operative bone loss after LT can be significantly avoided by pre-treatment of liver transplant candidates affected by osteopenia.