Vertebral compression fractures in pediatric patients with Crohn's disease

Gastroenterology. 1997 May;112(5):1710-3. doi: 10.1016/s0016-5085(97)70055-6.


Osteoporosis is known to be a significant complication of Crohn's disease in adult patients. The association of osteoporosis and the development of vertebral compression fractures is well delineated. This case report describes 5 pediatric patients with Crohn's disease in whom vertebral compression fractures associated with a marked reduction in bone density developed. As in adults, the association of osteoporosis and Crohn's disease in pediatric patients is multifactorial, including corticosteroid use, calcium and vitamin D homeostasis, malnutrition, alteration in sex hormones, and site of disease. At the time of diagnosis of the vertebral fractures, the patients' ages ranged from 10.6 to 16.8 years, they had persistent and severe back pain, and 3 of 5 patients had a decrease in height. They were taking 13.7-41.6 mg/day of corticosteroid, and all 5 patients had terminal ileal involvement. Bone mineral density measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry was well below 2SD from the mean in all patients (z-score, -2.31 to -5.11). Because of the high morbidity and mortality associated with fractures that result from low bone mineral density, medical care of all pediatric patients with Crohn's disease should include an evaluation of bone mineral density.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bone Density
  • Crohn Disease / complications*
  • Crohn Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Crohn Disease / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Radiography
  • Spinal Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Fractures / etiology*
  • Spinal Fractures / metabolism