Identification of vitamin D and other bone metabolism parameters as risk factors for primary bone marrow oedema syndrome

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Background: The aetiology and pathogenesis of primary bone marrow oedema syndrome (BMES) remain unclear. This retrospective cross-sectional study in a large cohort of patients with BMES was performed to characterise the overall skeletal status and turnover in patients with BMES, with the aim of identifying risk factors for this disease. Methods: Patients who were diagnosed with BMES on the basis of clinical and radiological (magnetic resonance imaging) findings in our outpatient clinic were identified retrospectively. Patient history, co-existing metabolic disorders, bone metabolism parameters (serum calcium, phosphate, 25-OH-D 3 , bone-specific alkaline phosphatase, parathyroid hormone, and osteocalcin, and urinary deoxypyridinoline) and bone mineral density (as measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) were extracted from the medical records. Patients with secondary causes for BMES were excluded from the study. Results: Of the 171 patients, 65 were identified without secondary cause for BMES. Of the 65 patients, 61.5% were female. The mean age was 49.5 ± 16.7 years, and age-related BMES prevalence showed two peaks, one in adolescence (11-20 years) and one at an older age (51-70 years). BMES predominantly affected the weight-bearing joints, namely, the ankle/foot (55.1%), knee (22.4%) and proximal femur (16.3%). Thyroid disorders and secondary hyperparathyroidism were highly prevalent (21.5 and 21.4%, respectively). On average, the cohort had elevated deoxypyridinoline levels and low 25-OH-D 3 levels (19.0 ± 7.5 μg/l in patients without vitamin D supplementation). Osteopenia and osteoporosis were diagnosed in 47.4 and 17.5% of patients, respectively. Conclusions: BMES is associated with high bone turnover. Patients who are diagnosed with BMES should be screened carefully for bone metabolism disorders and their potential risk factors.




Oehler, N., Mussawy, H., Schmidt, T., Rolvien, T., & Barvencik, F. (2018). Identification of vitamin D and other bone metabolism parameters as risk factors for primary bone marrow oedema syndrome. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 19(1).

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