Cardiac complications of end-stage renal disease

Adv Ren Replace Ther. 2000 Jul;7(3):210-9. doi: 10.1053/jarr.2000.8120.


Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in patients receiving dialysis. This is attributed in part to the shared risk factors of cardiovascular disease and end-stage renal disease. The risk factors for coronary artery disease include the classic cardiac risk factors of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and smoking. Also in this population, hyperparathyroidism, hypoalbuminemia, hyperhomocysteinemia, elevated levels of apolipoprotein (a), and the type of dialysis membrane may play a role. Management begins with risk factor modification and medical therapy including aspirin, beta blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and lipid-lowering agents. Revascularization is often important, and coronary artery bypass grafting appears to be preferable to percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty. This is especially true for those with multivessel disease, impaired left ventricular function, severe symptoms, or ischemia. Congestive heart failure is another common problem in dialysis patients. The management includes correction of underlying abnormalities, optimal dialysis, and medical therapy. Data obtained from the general population indicate obvious benefits from ACE inhibitors and beta blockers, and these agents would be considered the therapies of choice. Erythropoetin is also an essential component of therapy, but the ideal hemoglobin concentration has yet to be determined. Peritoneal dialysis may be helpful in severe cases of heart failure. Pericarditis is seen in less than 10% of dialysis patients and is best diagnosed by clinical examination and echocardiography. Intensive dialysis is often the best initial therapy. Pericardiocentesis is reserved for the setting of pericardial tamponade, but a pericardial window is more definitive.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Heart Diseases / etiology*
  • Heart Failure / diagnosis
  • Heart Failure / etiology
  • Heart Failure / therapy
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications*
  • Myocardial Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Myocardial Ischemia / etiology
  • Myocardial Ischemia / therapy
  • Pericarditis / diagnosis
  • Pericarditis / etiology
  • Pericarditis / therapy
  • Risk Factors
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / diagnosis
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / etiology
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / therapy