Quantification of coronary artery calcification (CAC) determined by electron-beam computed tomography (EBCT), known as the CAC score (CACS), correlates with total plaque amount and coronary risk factors and strongly associates with maximal stenosis in the epicardial arteries. However, data are limited concerning the CACS in chronic dialysis patients, although atherosclerotic vascular disease is the most frequent complication. We examined the relation between coronary risk factors, metabolic factors of calcium and other minerals, and CACS progression in 24 dialysis patients. The mean patient age was 53 +/- 14 (SD) years, and mean duration of dialysis was 64 +/- 69 months. In each patient, the CACS was measured twice, with a mean interscan period of 17 +/- 3 months. The mean CACS progressed from 449 +/- 605 to 669 +/- 894 overall, and the mean change in CACS (DeltaCACS) was 220 +/- 78. Patients were divided into two groups: slow progressors, with DeltaCACS of 7.5 +/- 31 (n = 12), and rapid progressors, with DeltaCACS of 432 +/- 458 (n = 12). Triglyceride concentrations (198 +/- 65 versus 103 +/- 50 mg/dL; P < 0.001) were high, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) concentrations (46 +/- 11 versus 60 +/- 18 mg/dL; P < 0.05) were low in rapid progressors. Rapid progression of CAC was associated with high triglyceride and low HDL-C concentrations. The clinical significance of these observations remains to be determined.