A study undertaken by Dr Larry E. Miller and team from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University reveals that bone mineral content declines significantly in men after one year of coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).
CABG involves the removal of blocks in more than one coronary artery which pass through the heart to provide oxygen rich blood to the rest of the body. Twenty six men between the ages of 50 and 79 years who have undergone this surgery were studied by the research team.
Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, a procedure which measures bone mineral content was performed before surgery and at 3 months and 1 year after treatment on these people. It was found that bone mineral density had decreased significantly in the arms, pelvis and in the total body by 3 months after treatment.
Total body or regional fat mass did not record any change. Fifteen people out of the twenty six had returned for follow-up after one year. Bone mineral density in the total body, in legs and in arms was greatly reduced.
As there is a clear link between bone mineral and fracture risk, osteoporotic fractures may occur in CABG patients. This can be brought under control if preventive measures are taken.
Cardiac rehabilitation which involves upper body flexibility exercises, formalized low intensity resistance training (after sternum is completely healed) should be recommended in patients after CABG surgery. These measures could prevent or stall the bone mineral loss that was observed in this study.