Background: Parathyroid hormone and vitamin D have been shown to influence cardiac and vascular growth and function experimentally in human subjects with normal renal function. Because of the increased prevalence of hyperparathyroidism and altered vitamin D status in chronic renal failure, these alterations have been considered to contribute to the increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease and hypertension seen in this patient population. Methods and Results. In this article, we review experimental and clinical literature on the cardiovascular effects of parathyroid hormone and vitamin D and relate them to the development of cardiac and vascular dysfunction in uremia, such as: cardiomyopathy, myocardial hypertrophy, and fibrosis, as well as to myocardial ischemia; uremic glucose intolerance, dyslipidemia, and atherosclerosis; hypertension; and vascular and cardiac calcifications.
Conclusions: The hyperparathyroid state and altered vitamin D status found in uremia contribute to the cardiovascular pathology seen clinically in uremia and also to the excess mortality from cardiovascular causes found in this patient group. The therapeutic implications of these observations are also discussed.