Bypass Surgery Linked to Decline in Bone Strength

Men show a significant decrease in bone mineral density a year after surgery

MONDAY, March 5 (HealthDay News) -- Older men who undergo coronary artery bypass grafting may have an increased risk of bone mineral density loss compared to men who do not undergo surgery, according to study findings published in the March 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Larry E. Miller, Ph.D., of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va., and colleagues performed dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry on 26 men, aged 50 to 79, before surgery and three months and one year after surgery.

The researchers found that the patients' bone mineral losses were considerably higher than would be expected with normal aging. One year after surgery, they found that bone mineral density losses were 0.6 percent to 3.3 percent for the total body, arms and legs. Bone mineral content was especially reduced in the subjects' arms. Older men typically experience an annualized bone mineral density loss of 0.3 percent to 1.5 percent at the hip and 0.1 percent for the total body.

"These outcomes are noteworthy because bone mineral is inversely related to fracture risk. Further, mortality rates after a major osteoporotic fracture are higher in men than in women," the authors write. "To offset this risk, patients who undergo coronary artery bypass grafting should be encouraged to begin cardiac rehabilitation four to six weeks after treatment."

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