Osteoporosis International

, Volume 14, Issue 7, pp 559–563 | Cite as

Assessment of bone mineral density in adults and children with Marfan syndrome

  • Philip F. Giampietro
  • Margaret Peterson
  • Robert Schneider
  • Jessica G. Davis
  • Cathleen Raggio
  • Elizabeth Myers
  • Stephen W. Burke
  • Oheneba Boachie-Adjei
  • Charles M. Mueller
Original Article


Recent studies indicate that decreased bone mineral density (BMD) occurs in the spine, femoral necks and greater trochanters of some adults and children with Marfan syndrome. Because there is uncertainty regarding the BMD status of patients with Marfan syndrome, we undertook an analysis of BMD in both adults and children with Marfan syndrome. Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry analysis was performed on a convenience sample of 51 patients (30 adults and 21 children) with diagnosed Marfan syndrome from 1993 to 2000. T-Scores (i.e. the number of standard deviations above or below the average normal peak bone density) were determined for comparison of adults. Mean±SD of individual BMD values were used for comparison of the data of children. Compared to standard values obtained from normal adult patients, adult males with Marfan syndrome demonstrated significantly reduced femoral neck BMD with an average T-score of -1.54 (P<0.001), diagnostic of osteopenia. Although osteopenia and osteoporosis were observed in several middle aged and pre- and postmenopausal women, the average T-score value for adult females and children were within normal limits. The etiology and full significance of decreased BMD in adult male patients with Marfan syndrome remain uncertain at the present time. Our results lead us to question the value of aggressive BMD evaluations by DXA in these patients, particularly prior to reaching mid-age. Further investigations will be required to shed insights into the natural history of BMD in adults and children with Marfan syndrome. Any application of bone mineral replacement therapy such as bisphosphonate, selective estrogen receptor modulators, hormone replacement therapy and vitamin D in these patients may be premature based on the existing evidence.


Adult males Femoral neck Marfan syndrome Osteopenia 



We acknowledge the Children's Clinical Research Center of Weill Medical College of Cornell University (GCRCMO1RR06020), Adult Clinical Research Center of Weill Medical College (M01RR00047) the John R. Cobb Scoliosis Research Fund and the assistance of Elizabeth Wood with construction of the database. We also appreciate the suggestions provided by Drs. David B. Schowalter and Christopher Bibbo. We also thank Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation for its support through the assistance of Alice Stargardt, Doreen Luepke, and Graig Eldred in the preparation of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip F. Giampietro
    • 1
    • 7
  • Margaret Peterson
    • 2
  • Robert Schneider
    • 3
  • Jessica G. Davis
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cathleen Raggio
    • 4
  • Elizabeth Myers
    • 2
  • Stephen W. Burke
    • 3
  • Oheneba Boachie-Adjei
    • 5
  • Charles M. Mueller
    • 6
  1. 1.Division of Genetics, Department of PediatricsWeill Medical College of Cornell UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiomechanicsHospital for Special SurgeryNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyHospital for Special SurgeryNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Department of Pediatric OrthopedicsHospital for Special SurgeryNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Adult and Pediatric Spine SurgeryHospital for Special SurgeryNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.Division of Nutrition ResearchWeill Medical College of Cornell UniversityNew YorkUSA
  7. 7.Department of Medical Genetic ServicesMarshfield ClinicMarshfieldUSA

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