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ABSTRACT: Early, rapid bone loss and fractures after cardiac transplantation are well-documented complications of steroid administration; therefore, we undertook this study on the effects of long-term calcitonin on steroid-induced osteoporosis.
Twenty-three heart transplant recipients on maintenance immunosuppression with cyclosporine, mycophenolate mofetil and prednisone were retrospectively studied. All patients received long-term prophylactic treatment with elemental calcium and vitamin D. Twelve (52.2%) patients also received long-term intranasal salmon calcitonin, whereas 11 (47.8%) received none. Bone mineral density and vertebral fractures were assessed at yearly intervals. Statistical comparisons between each group's bone loss during the first year and in the early (1 to 3 years), intermediate (4 to 6 years) and late (7+ years) post-transplantation periods were done.
Lumbar spine bone loss was significant during the early follow-up period in the group not receiving calcitonin (0.744 +/- 0.114 g/cm(2) vs 0.978 +/- 0.094 g/cm(2) [p = 0.002]). The calcitonin group showed bone mineral density (BMD) levels within normal average values throughout the study period. BMD increased in the no-calcitonin group during the intermediate (4 to 6 years) and late (7+ years) follow-up periods, with values approaching normal average and no significant difference between the 2 groups (0.988 +/- 0.184 g/cm(2) vs 0.982 +/- 0.088 g/cm(2) [p = 0.944] and 0.89 +/- 0.09 g/cm(2) vs 1.048 +/- 0.239 g/cm(2) [p = 0.474], respectively).
Prophylactic treatment with intranasal salmon calcitonin prevents rapid bone loss associated with high-dose steroids early after cardiac transplantation. Long-term administration does not seem warranted in re-establishing BMD.
The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation 06/2005; 24(5):526-32. · 5.11 Impact Factor