Long-term reduction in bone mass after severe burn injury in children

Gordon L. Klein, David N. Herndon, Craig B. Langman, Thomas C. Rutan, William E. Young, Gregory Pembleton, Martin Nusynowitz, Joseph L. Barnett, Lyle D. Broemeling, Dawn E. Sailer, Robert L. McCauley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


Objective: Because burn victims are at risk of having bone loss, a cross-sectional study was undertaken to determine whether severe burn injury had acute and long-term effects on bone mass or on the incidence of fractures in children. Methods: Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry of the lumbar portion of the spine was performed on 68 children: 16 moderately burned (15% to 36% of total body surface area) and 52 age-matched severely burned (≥40% of total body surface area). Twenty-two severely burned children were hospitalized and studied within 8 weeks of their burn, and 30 others were studied approximately 5 years after discharge. In the severely burned group, both hospitalized and discharged, serum and urine were analyzed for calcium, phosphorus, intact parathyroid hormone, osteocalcin, and type I collagen telopeptide. Results: Sixty percent of severely burned patients had age-related z scores for bone density less than -1, and 27% of severely burned patients had age-related z scores for bone density less than -2 (p <0.005, for each). In the moderately burned group, 31% of patients had z scores less than -1 (p <0.005 vs normal distribution), but only 6% had z scores less than -2 (p value not significant). There was evidence of increased incidence of fractures after discharge in the severely burned patients. Biochemical studies were compatible with a reduction in bone formation and an increase in resorption initially, and with a long-term persistence of low formation. Conclusion: We conclude that acute burn injury leads to profound and long-term bone loss, which may adversely affect peak bone mass accumulation. (J PEDIATR 1995;126:252-6).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-256
Number of pages5
JournalThe Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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