Bone Mineral Density in Patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis: Incidence and Correlation with Demographic and Clinical Variables
Objective: To evaluate bone mineral density (BMD) in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and determine its correlation with the demographic and clinical characteristics of AS. Patients and Methods: Demographic, clinical and osteodensitometric data were evaluated in a cross-sectional study that included 136 patients with AS. Spine and hip BMD were measured by means of dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Using the modified Schober’s test we assessed spine mobility. We examined the sacroiliac, anteroposterior and lateral dorso-lumbar spine radiographs in order to grade sacroiliitis and assess syndesmophytes. Disease activity was evaluated using C-reactive protein (CRP) levels and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). Demographic data and BMD measurements were compared with those of 167 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Results: Patients with AS had a significantly lower BMD at the spine, femoral neck, trochanter and total hip as compared to age-matched controls (all p<0.01). According to the WHO classification, osteoporosis was present in 20.6% of the AS patients at the lumbar spine and in 14.6% at the femoral neck. There were no significant differences in BMD when comparing men and women with AS, except for trochanter BMD that was lower in female patients. No correlations were found between disease activity markers (ESR, CRP) and BMD. Femoral neck BMD was correlated with disease duration, Schober’s test and sacroiliitis grade. Conclusion: Patients with AS have a lower spine and hip BMD as compared to age- and sex-matched controls. Bone loss at the femoral neck is associated with disease duration and more severe AS.