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Height-corrected low bone density associates with severe outcomes in sickle cell disease: SCCRIP cohort study results

Oyebimpe O. Adesina, James G. Gurney, Guolian Kang, Martha Villavicencio, Jason R. Hodges, Wassim Chemaitilly, Sue C. Kaste, Babette S. Zemel and Jane S. Hankins

Key Points

  • Despite adjusting for short stature, low BMD remains highly prevalent in adolescents with SCD.

  • Low BMD independently associates with chronic pain and hip osteonecrosis in pediatric SCD.

Abstract

Low bone mineral density (BMD) disproportionately affects people with sickle cell disease (SCD). Growth faltering is common in SCD, but most BMD studies in pediatric SCD cohorts fail to adjust for short stature. We examined low BMD prevalence in 6- to 18-year-olds enrolled in the Sickle Cell Clinical Research and Intervention Program (SCCRIP), an ongoing multicenter life span SCD cohort study initiated in 2014. We calculated areal BMD for chronological age and height-adjusted areal BMD (Ht-aBMD) z scores for the SCCRIP cohort, using reference data from healthy African American children and adolescents enrolled in the Bone Mineral Density in Childhood Study. We defined low BMD as Ht-aBMD z scores less than or equal to –2 and evaluated its associations with demographic and clinical characteristics by using logistic regression analyses. Of the 306 children and adolescents in our study cohort (mean age, 12.5 years; 50% female; 64% HbSS/Sβ0-thalassemia genotype; 99% African American), 31% had low areal BMD for chronological age z scores and 18% had low Ht-aBMD z scores. In multivariate analyses, low Ht-aBMD z scores associated with adolescence (odds ratio [OR], 7.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.94-30.20), hip osteonecrosis (OR, 4.0; 95% CI, 1.02-15.63), chronic pain (OR, 10.4; 95% CI, 1.51-71.24), and hemoglobin (OR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.57-0.96). Despite adjusting for height, nearly 20% of this pediatric SCD cohort still had very low BMD. As the SCCRIP cohort matures, we plan to prospectively evaluate the longitudinal relationship between Ht-aBMD z scores and markers of SCD severity and morbidity.

  • Submitted September 13, 2018.
  • Accepted April 1, 2019.
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