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Bone mineral density differences between paraplegic and quadriplegic patients: a cross-sectional study


Study design: This cross-sectional study was conducted by comparing bone mineral density (BMD) of paraplegic and quadriplegic patients.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the bone mineral loss and injury level in spinal cord injury patients.

Settings: Experiments were conducted at Yoneda Hospital and Research Center of Health, Physical Fitness and Sports, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan.

Methods: Lumbar spine (L2-4), proximal femur (femoral neck, trochanter region and Ward's triangle) and whole body BMD were measured in ten paraplegic and ten quadriplegic patients using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA, HITACHI BMD-1X).

Results: Significant differences were observed in the lumbar spine, trochanter region and upper extremities BMD between paraplegic and quadriplegic patients (P<0.05, P<0.05 and P<0.01, respectively), but not in the femoral neck, Ward's triangle, head, pelvis, lower extremities or whole body BMD.

Conclusion: These results suggest that the injury level influences on the lumbar spine, upper extremities and trochanter region BMD. From a biomechanical standpoint, it is possible to explain that the differences in mechanical loading exerted on bones also affected the difference of lumbar spine BMD in the two groups.

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Tsuzuku, S., Ikegami, Y. & Yabe, K. Bone mineral density differences between paraplegic and quadriplegic patients: a cross-sectional study. Spinal Cord 37, 358–361 (1999).

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  • spinal cord injury, (SCI)
  • bone mineral density, (BMD)
  • dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, (DXA)
  • paraplegic patients
  • quadriplegic patients
  • mechanical loading

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