Review article: Bone density in patients with chronic kidney disease stages 4-5


Dr Susan Ott, University of Washington, P.O. Box 356426, Seattle, WA 98195-6426, USA. Email:


Skeletal fractures are common in dialysis patients. Bone density measurements predict fractures in the general population, but in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) there is limited ability to predict fractures with these techniques. A review of the literature in patients with CKD stage 5 shows that bone density in the cortical bone of the radius or hip is generally lower compared with normal reference ranges by about one to two standard deviations, whereas in the spine bone density tends to be closer to the average expected values. The bone density is not able to predict the underlying histology in patients with renal osteodystrophy. The serum PTH levels are inversely related to bone density in some studies, and not related in other studies, but none found a positive association of serum parathyroid hormone (PTH) and bone density. There are very few data about longitudinal changes of bone density in these patients, and also inadequate studies of whether osteoporosis medications are effective in this population. Therefore, at this time the clinical utility of bone density measurements in patients with CKD-5 is uncertain.