Selective measurements of bone mineral density (BMD) of trabecular and cortical bone at the ultradistal radius were made in 27 children with rheumatic diseases and in age- and sex-matched healthy controls using peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT).
Results: Mineral density of trabecular bone (-34,5%) and total bone mineral density (-18,9%) differed significantly between patients and controls (p < 0.01). BMD of the cortical bone (-13,6%) did not differ significantly between the groups. There was no difference in BMD in patients with systemic or non-systemic diseases. BMD did not correlate with duration of disease or steroid medication.
Conclusions: Total bone mineral density and trabecular bone density are decreased in children and adolescents with sytemic and non-systemic rheumatic diseases. Age of onset of disease and steroid medication did not correlate with bone mineral density. PQCT has the advantages of low local and no total body radiation, high sensitivity, high reproducibility and selective measurement of different bone compartements. Because selective measurement can be made in metabolically active trabecular bone changes of BMD can be detected at an early stage before the whole bone is affected. With this method therapy for chronic diseases affecting bone density can be initiated and the course of the disease can be followed.