Determination of Bone Architecture and Strength in Men and Women with Stage 5 Chronic Kidney Disease


Address correspondence to: Sophie A. Jamal, Women’s College Research Institute, 790 Bay Street, 7th Floor, Toronto, ON, M5G 1N8, Canada, Tel.: +416-351-3732 × 2738, Fax: +416-351-3746, or e-mail:


Fractures are common in men and women with dialysis-dependent chronic kidney disease (stage 5D CKD) and are associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. The clinical utility of dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT), noninvasive measures of bone mass and architecture that reflect fracture risk in healthy men and women, is uncertain in patients with stage 5D CKD. This review will outline the epidemiology and etiology of fractures and will summarize the published data that describe the association between fractures, bone mass, and bone strength in stage 5D CKD. Fracture risk assessment in stage 5D CKD is complicated as the etiology of fractures is multifactorial and includes impairments in bone quantity and quality. Cross-sectional data suggest that bone density by DXA is lower among stage 5D CKD patients with fractures compared with those without, and that this may be particularly true at cortical sites. However, DXA does not capture bone microarchitecture and cannot differentiate between cortical and trabecular bone. Some, but not all studies, that measure cortical and trabecular bone by pQCT in stage 5D CKD, demonstrate a preferential decrease in cortical bone; however, these studies are limited by small sample sizes and cross-sectional study design. No studies have reported on longitudinal relationships between bone architecture, strength, and incident fractures in patients with stage 5D CKD. Further research is needed to identify noninvasive measures of bone strength that can be used for fracture risk assessment in stage 5D CKD.