Papers And Originals

Quantitative Skeletal Histology in Untreated End-stage Renal Failure

Br Med J 1973; 2 doi: (Published 30 June 1973) Cite this as: Br Med J 1973;2:745
  1. Joan P. Ingham,
  2. John H. Stewart,
  3. Solomon Posen


    Forty-six patients with end-stage renal failure were subjected to iliac crest biopsy before the initiation of a dialysis programme and regardless of the presence of skeletal symptoms. Quantitative studies of undecalcified sections showed osteoporosis in 11 patients, osteosclerosis in 10, and osteomalacia (alone or in combination with other lesions) in 14. Semiquantitative studies showed osteitis fibrosa (alone or in combination with other lesions) in 29. The various abnormalities occurred alone or in combination with one another and, to a large extent, independently of serum biochemistry.

    Radiological examination failed to diagnose the histological abnormality in 12 of 13 patients with osteomalacia and in 10 of 25 patients with osteitis fibrosa. These abnormalities were commoner in women, in patients with pyelonephritis, and in patients with documented renal failure of long standing. Bone volume changes could not be correlated with any clinical parameters.

    Skeletal findings in untreated patients should be taken into account when the effects of chronic dialysis or renal transplantation or both are being considered.