Bone density and other possible predictors of fracture risk in children and adolescents with spastic quadriplegia


  • Richard C. Henderson

    1. Associate Professor of Orthopaedies and Pediatrics, University of North Carolina, 237 Burnett-Womack Building, CB# 7055, Chapel Hill, NC27599-7055, USA
    Search for more papers by this author


Forty-three patients with spastic quadriplegia (mean age 7.9 years, range 3.3 to 17.2 years) underwent bone mineral density (BMD) measurement of the lumbar spine and were evaluated between 2.6 and 5.5 years (mean 3.8) later to determine whether this measurement had predicted risk of fracture over the subsequent period of observation. Other potential risk factors that were evaluated include body weight z score, serum vitamin D levels, previous fracture, and hip spica casting. The baseline measurements showed that BUD falls further below normal with increasing age and was more than one standard deviation below age-matched normal mean in 38 of the 43 patients. Fracture rate did not differ between those with low and those with very low spinal BMD. Similarly, serum vitamin D levels and body weight z scores were not predictive of fracture. However, fracture rate was over fourfold greater following spica casting and more than threefold greater following an initial fracture. Fracture rates in the study group were similar to those reported for age- and sex-matched normal children, though generally the location of the fractures and mechanisms of injury differed.