Due to progress in lung transplantation, post-transplantation osteoporosis becomes an important problem. We determined bone mineral density (BMD) in 74 lung transplantation candidates, among them 24 patients with cystic fibrosis, 16 with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 14 with pulmonary fibrosis, and 11 with pulmonary hypertension. The mean T score (± SD) was − 2.6 ± 1.3 at femoral neck (FN), − 2.2 ± 1.6 at Ward's triangle (WT) and −2.3 ± 1.5 at lumbar spine (LS). Osteoporosis was found in 61% of the patients at FN, 45% at WT and 50% at LS. Patients with different underlying lung diseases were similarly affected, not only those with cystic fibrosis but also others, including patients with pulmonary hypertension. No association was found between BMD and age, gender, menstrual condition in women and testosterone level in men. A negative correlation was found between chronic glucocorticoid use and T scores. Body mass index correlated positively (p < 0.01) with T scores at any site and the correlation was also significant for the 2 largest subgroups. Loss of lung function (FEV1) also was associated with lower T scores. No correlation was found between BMD and biochemical indices of bone turnover. Multivariate analysis revealed BMI and glucocorticoid use as independent risk factors. We conclude that osteoporosis is a very common condition in patients with end-stage pulmonary disease, independent of the underlying diagnosis. In view of additional bone loss under immunosuppressive treatment after lung transplantation, early diagnosis and prevention of osteoporosis in the pretransplant period should receive high priority.