Renal disease as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease

Basic Res Cardiol. 2000;95 Suppl 1:I72-6. doi: 10.1007/s003950070013.


Cardiovascular disease is the major cause of death in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). ESRD patients are almost invariably hypertensive. They all have acquired combined hyperlipidemia and increased Lp(a), hyperhomocysteinemia, decreased physical activity, psychosocial stress, insulin resistance, procoagulant factors, left ventricular hypertrophy, and increased oxidative stress. Diabetes mellitus, a major risk factor for both cardiovascular disease and ESRD, has become the commonest cause of ESRD. If ESRD patients choose to smoke, the additive risk is profound. Moreover, ESRD patients are becoming older and are often menopausal if female. Finally, ESRD patients have a dramatic tendency for vascular and cardiac calcification, probably related to hyperphosphatemia and hyperparathyroidism. Cardiovascular disease is also a major risk in patients with decreased renal function of nearly any degree. Data from the HDFP study showed that patients with a serum creatinine concentration > 1.5 mg/dl had a profoundly higher risk of cardiovascular disease than patients with creatinine values below this value. These data were recently corroborated in the HOPE study. Microalbuminuria (MAU), with or without diabetes mellitus, indicates increased cardiovascular disease risk even without decreases in glomerular filtration rate. We found earlier that nondiabetic hypertensive patients with MAU had much higher rates of myocardial infarction, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease, than similar hypertensive patients without MAU. In conclusion, the presence of decreased renal function or MAU is a major cardiovascular risk factor. ESRD can be regarded as a catastrophic risk factor. Prophylactic measures known to be effective in reducing the risk from cardiovascular disease are grossly underused. Unfortunately, they are less effective in patients with renal disease, and new strategies are needed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Calcinosis / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / complications
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / etiology
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Kidney Diseases / complications*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / metabolism
  • Risk Factors