Objectives: Low bone mineral density (BMD) is recognized as a potential problem in children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). We aimed to describe the longitudinal development of BMD in a population of Swedish pediatric patients with IBD.
Methods: A total of 144 patients with IBD (93 males; 83 with ulcerative colitis [UC], 45 with Crohn disease [CD]) were examined with dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry at baseline. At follow-up 2 years later, 126 of the initial 144 patients were reexamined. BMD values are expressed as z scores.
Results: Children with UC and CD had significantly lower mean BMD z scores for the lumbar spine (LS) at baseline and after 2 years. The reduction in BMD was equally pronounced in patients with UC and CD, and neither group improved their z score during the follow-up period. Furthermore, significantly lower mean BMD z scores for the LS were found at baseline in boys (-1.1 SD, ±2.7 SD, P < 0.001), but not in girls (-0.0 SD, ±3.0 SD). This finding remained unchanged at follow-up. Subanalyses of the different age groups at baseline showed the lowest BMD values in the group of patients ages 17 to 19 years in boys (mean z score for the LS 1.59 SD, ±3.1 SD) and in girls (mean z score for the LS -3.40 SD, ±3.1 SD); however, at follow-up, these patients had improved their BMD significantly (mean change z score for the LS 1.00 SD, 95% CI 0.40-1.60; 1.90 SD, 95% CI 0.60-3.20).
Conclusions: In this longitudinal study, the entire group of pediatric patients with IBD showed permanent decreases in their BMD z scores for the LS; however, our data indicate that afflicted children have the potential to improve their BMD by the time they reach early adulthood.