Osteopenia of prematurity: a national survey and review of practice

Acta Paediatr. 2008 Apr;97(4):407-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2007.00721.x.


Premature infants are at significant risk of reduced bone mineral content (BMC) and subsequent osteopenia. There are currently no standard practices regarding screening, investigation or treatment of this condition. We present a case report and findings of a national survey of 36 level 2 and 3 neonatal units (72% response rate). The findings showed widely disparate practice regarding screening, prevention and treatment. We summarize the tests currently available for osteopenia and suggest guidelines for management of the at risk group.

Conclusion: Our survey confirms inconsistent practices regarding management of infants at risk of osteopenia of prematurity. Investigations and treatments available are summarized together with a guideline for management of this susceptible group of infants.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / congenital*
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / diagnosis
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / therapy
  • Calcium / urine
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / therapy*
  • Male
  • Neonatal Screening / standards
  • Phosphorus / urine
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • Phosphorus
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Calcium