Background: Individuals with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) have highly prevalent and severe vascular and valvular calcification. We undertook this study to test the hypothesis that vascular and valvular calcification begins and is often severe long before diabetic renal disease progresses to ESRD.
Methods: A total of 32 nondialyzed individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus and diabetic renal disease (albumin excretion rate>30 microg/min) [mean glomerular filtration rate (GFR), 49.8 +/- 6.1 mL/min/1.73 m2] were identified and compared with a group of 18 normoalbuminuric diabetics. We used 3:1 matching to identify 95 nondiabetic controls without renal disease, matched for age, gender, ethnicity, and the presence/absence of dyslipidemia, hypertension, and known coronary artery disease (CAD).
Results: Using electron beam computed tomography (CT), the prevalence of coronary artery calcification was significantly greater among diabetic renal disease individuals (prevalence, 94% vs. 59%, P < 0.001; median score, 238 vs. 10, P < 0.001) than the nondiabetic controls. The coronary artery calcification scores were significantly more severe among diabetic renal disease individuals than either the diabetic or nondiabetic controls. Among individuals with diabetic renal disease, the coronary artery calcification and aortic wall calcification scores were several-fold greater among those with known CAD than among those without. There was also a significantly greater prevalence of aortic and mitral valve calcification among diabetic renal disease individuals than nondiabetic controls (aortic, 23% vs. 6%, P = 0.03; mitral, 25% vs. 2%, P < 0.001). Multivariate analysis using all three groups reproduced these findings and also consistently identified age and diabetic renal disease as additional predictors for the presence or severity of coronary artery and aortic wall calcification.
Conclusion: In this first, systematic analysis among nondialyzed individuals with diabetic renal disease, these data demonstrate that vascular and valvular calcification is present and often severe long before the disease progresses to ESRD. The data also suggest that the coronary artery and aortic wall calcification may represent atherosclerosis.