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Clinical Investigations: SURGERY |

Bone Mineral Density Improvement After Lung Volume Reduction Surgery for Severe Emphysema*

Tommaso Claudio Mineo, MD; Vincenzo Ambrogi, MD; Davide Mineo, MD; Andrea Fabbri, MD; Elisa Fabbrini, MD; Renato Massoud, MD
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*From the Divisions of Thoracic Surgery (Drs. T.C. Mineo and Ambrogi), Endocrinology (Drs. D. Mineo, Fabbri, and Fabbrini), and Clinical Biochemistry (Dr. Massoud), Tor Vergata University Policlinic, Rome, Italy.

Correspondence to: Vincenzo Ambrogi, MD, Cattedra di Chirurgia Toracica, Università degli studi di Roma Tor Vergata, Policlinico Universitario Tor Vergata, Viale Oxford, 81, 00133 Rome, Italy; e-mail: ambrogi@med.uniroma2.it



Chest. 2005;127(6):1960-1966. doi:10.1378/chest.127.6.1960
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Background: In patients with severe emphysema, bone mineral density (BMD) is reduced and the risk of osteoporosis is increased.

Study objectives: To identify the impact of lung volume reduction surgery on BMD.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: University hospital.

Patients and interventions: Forty emphysematous patients, all receiving oral steroid therapy, underwent bilateral lung volume reduction surgery. Thirty similar patients, who refused the operation, followed a standard respiratory rehabilitation program.

Measurements: All subjects were evaluated pretreatment and 12 months posttreatment for respiratory function, nutritional status, and bone-related biochemical parameters. BMD was assessed by dual-energy radiograph absorptiometry.

Results: After surgery, we observed significant improvements in respiratory function (FEV1, + 18.8% [p < 0.01]; residual volume [RV], −29.6% [p < 0.001]; diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide [Dlco], + 21.6% [p < 0.01]) nutritional parameters (fat-free mass, + 6.0% [p < 0.01]), levels of bone-related hormones (free-testosterone, + 20.5% [p < 0.01]; parathormone, –11.2% [p < 0.01]), bone turnover markers (osteocalcin, –12.7% [p < 0.05]; bone-alkaline-phosphatase, –14.0% [p < 0.05]; β-crosslaps, −33.6% [p < 0.001]), BMD (lumbar, + 8.8% [p < 0.01]; femoral, + 5.5% [p < 0.01]), and T-score (lumbar, + 21.0% [p < 0.01]; femoral, + 12.4% [p < 0.01]) with reduction in osteoporosis rate (50 to 25%). Nineteen patients who had undergone surgery were able to discontinue treatment with oral steroids. These subjects showed a more significant improvement in BMD (lumbar, + 9.6%; femoral, + 6.8%; p < 0.001) and T-score (lumbar, + 27.3%; femoral, + 14.3%; p < 0.001). The remaining 21 patients who had undergone surgery experienced significant improvement compared to respiratory rehabilitation subjects despite continued therapy with oral steroids (BMD: lumbar, + 4.5% vs −0.7%, respectively [p < 0.01]; femoral, + 2.7% vs –1.1%, respectively [p < 0.05]; T-score: lumbar, + 14 vs –2.1, respectively [p < 0.01]; femoral, + 7.4 vs –2.7, respectively [p < 0.01]). The increase in lumbar BMD was correlated with the surgical reduction of RV (p = 0.02) and with the increase in Dlco (p = 0.01) and fat-free mass (p = 0.01).

Conclusions: Lung volume reduction surgery significantly improves BMD compared to respiratory rehabilitation therapy, even in patients requiring oral steroids. The increase in BMD correlates with RV, Dlco, and fat-free mass, suggesting that the restoration of respiratory dynamics, gas exchange, and nutritional status induces improvement in bone metabolism and mineral content.

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