The prevalence of grade III or IV osteoarthritis was determined in 210 patients with chronic renal failure, of whom 94 were receiving chronic haemodialysis and 116 had functioning renal transplants. The prevalence of grade III or IV osteoarthritis was three times greater in patients under 65 than in a control population, and all but two affected patients also had erosion of subchondral bone in at least one affected joint. The excess of osteoarthritis was apparent in both the transplant recipients and those receiving haemodialysis. Over the age of 65 there was no significant difference in prevalence. Metabolic bone disease, including osteopenia, might contribute to the development of erosive osteoarthritis in chronic renal failure.
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