Background: Cardiovascular disease is common in older adults with end-stage renal disease who are undergoing regular dialysis, but little is known about the prevalence and extent of cardiovascular disease in children and young adults with end-stage renal disease.
Methods: We used electron-beam computed tomography (CT) to screen for coronary-artery calcification in 39 young patients with end-stage renal disease who were undergoing dialysis (mean [+/-SD] age, 19+/-7 years; range, 7 to 30) and 60 normal subjects 20 to 30 years of age. In those with evidence of calcification on CT scanning, we determined its extent. The results were correlated with the patients' clinical characteristics, serum calcium and phosphorus concentrations, and other biochemical variables.
Results: None of the 23 patients who were younger than 20 years of age had evidence of coronary-artery calcification, but it was present in 14 of the 16 patients who were 20 to 30 years old. Among those with calcification, the mean calcification score was 1157+/-1996, and the median score was 297. By contrast, only 3 of the 60 normal subjects had calcification. As compared with the patients without coronary-artery calcification, those with calcification were older (26+/-3 vs. 15+/-5 years, P<0.001) and had been undergoing dialysis for a longer period (14+/-5 vs. 4+/-4 years, P< 0.001). The mean serum phosphorus concentration, the mean calcium-phosphorus ion product in serum, and the daily intake of calcium were higher among the patients with coronary-artery calcification. Among 10 patients with calcification who underwent follow-up CT scanning, the calcification score nearly doubled (from 125+/-104 to 249+/-216, P=0.02) over a mean period of 20+/-3 months.
Conclusions: Coronary-artery calcification is common and progressive in young adults with end-stage renal disease who are undergoing dialysis.