Public Release: 

Heart failure linked to thinner bones and fractures

New study shows aggressive screening for osteoporosis may be important for heart failure patients

The Endocrine Society

Chevy Chase, MD -- Heart failure is associated with a 30 percent increase in major fractures and also identifies a high-risk population that may benefit from increased screening and treatment for osteoporosis, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

Osteoporosis and heart failure are common, chronic and costly conditions that share common etiologic factors like older age, post-menopausal status and diabetes. Previous studies have suggested that heart failure may predispose a patient to fractures not only because it increases incidence of falling, but because both heart failure itself and its medical treatments can lead to loss of bone mass.

"Our study demonstrates for the first time that heart failure and thinning of bones go hand in hand," said Sumit Majumdar, MD, of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and lead author of the study. "Understanding the mechanism between heart failure and osteoporosis might lead to new treatments for both conditions."

In this study, researchers conducted a population cohort study consisting of 45,509 adults undergoing bone mineral density testing for the first time and followed them for up to ten years. Of the 45,509 adults included in the study, 1,841 had recent-onset heart failure. After adjusting for traditional osteoporosis risk factors, researchers found that heart failure was associated with a 30 percent increase in major fractures.

"Part of screening for osteoporosis should involve looking at chest x-rays of patients with heart failure," said Majumdar. "Heart failure patients get a lot of x-rays and they often incidentally show many fractures of the spine that would automatically provide an indication of severe osteoporosis and need for treatment."


Other researchers working on the study include: Justin Ezekowitz of the University of Alberta; Lisa Lix of the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada; and William Leslie of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada.

The article, "Heart Failure is a Clinically and Densitometrically Independent Risk Factor for Osteoporotic Fractures," appears in the April 2012 issue of JCEM.

Founded in 1916, The Endocrine Society is the world's oldest, largest and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology. Today, The Endocrine Society's membership consists of over 15,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in more than 100 countries. Society members represent all basic, applied and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Chevy Chase, Maryland. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at Follow us on Twitter at!/EndoMedia.

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