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Udayakumar N, Chandrasekaran M, Rasheed MH, Suresh RV, Sivaprakash S
Correspondence: Dr Navaneethan Udayakumar, email@example.com
Introduction This project aimed to study the incidence and profile of bone involvement in thyrotoxicosis patients by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan and the effect of treatment on the bone mineral density (BMD).
Methods A total of 50 young patients with a mean age of 29.4 years, diagnosed to have thyrotoxicosis clinically and proven by thyroid function tests, were included in this prospective three-year study conducted at the Madras Medical College and Government General Hospital in Chennai, India. Patients were enrolled if they had bone pain or had elevation of serum alkaline phosphatase. All these patients had a baseline BMD measurement by DEXA scans in the region of the lumbar vertebrae before treatment and the T-score was computed. All other secondary causes of low BMD, like primary hyperparathyroidism, long-term steroid intake, vitamin D deficiency, was ruled out. After definitive management of hyperthyroidism by anti-thyroid drugs and surgery, all the patients with bone involvement had a repeat DEXA scan after one year and the T-score was computed.
Results Out of 50 patients, 46 had bone involvement (92 percent). Based on the World Health Organisation classification, 16 (32 percent) had osteopenia and 30 patients (60 percent) had osteoporosis. After control of thyrotoxicosis, the mean bone mass increased from 0.729 g/sq cm to 0.773 g/sq cm, a statistically significant increase of 0.044 g/sq cm (p-value is less than 0.001) after one year, compared to age- and sex-matched controls. The mean percentage of the bone mass compared to the peak BMD increased from 70.2 percent to 74.2 percent after treatment, an increase of four percent (p-value is less than 0.001). The mean percentage of the bone mass compared to the age-matched BMD increased from 71.2 percent to 75.2 percent after treatment, an increase of four percent (p-value is less than 0.001), all of which were statistically significant.
Conclusion Metabolic bone disease should be looked for in all thyrotoxic patients, especially patients complaining of bone pain and those with elevated bone enzymes. DEXA scans offer a convenient, reliable and noninvasive modality for diagnosis and monitoring therapy.
Keywords: bone mineral density, dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, metabolic bone disease, osteoporosis, thyrotoxicosis
Singapore Med J 2006; 47(11): 947-950