Paediatrics Publications


Osteoporotic Fractures and Vertebral Body Reshaping in Children with Glucocorticoid-treated Rheumatic Disorders

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Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism





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Context: Osteoporotic fractures are an important cause of morbidity in children with glucocorticoid-treated rheumatic disorders. Objective: This work aims to evaluate the incidence and predictors of osteoporotic fractures and potential for recovery over six years following glucocorticoid (GC) initiation in children with rheumatic disorders. Methods: Children with GC-treated rheumatic disorders were evaluated through a prospective inception cohort study led by the Canadian STeroid-induced Osteoporosis in the Pediatric Population (STOPP) Consortium. Clinical outcomes included lumbar spine bone mineral density (LS BMD), vertebral fractures (VF), non-VF, and vertebral body reshaping. Results: A total of 136 children with GC-treated rheumatic disorders were enrolled (mean age 9.9 years, SD 4.4). The 6-year cumulative fracture incidence was 16.3% for VF, and 10.1% for non-VF. GC exposure was highest in the first 6 months, and 24 of 38 VF (63%) occurred in the first 2 years. Following VF, 16 of 19 children (84%) had complete vertebral body reshaping. Increases in disease activity and body mass index z scores in the first year and declines in LS BMD z scores in the first 6 months predicted incident VF over the 6 years, while higher average daily GC doses predicted both incident VF and non-VF. LS BMD z scores were lowest at 6 months (mean-0.9, SD 1.2) and remained low by 6 years even when adjusted for height z scores (-0.6, SD 0.9). Conclusion: VF occurred early and were more common than non-VF in children with GC-treated rheumatic disorders. Eighty-four percent of children with VF underwent complete vertebral body reshaping, whereas vertebral deformity persisted in the remainder of children. On average, LS BMD z scores remained low at 6 years, consistent with incomplete recovery.

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