Background: Hemodialysis patients have advanced arterial wall stiffening as shown by increased aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV), an independent predictor of cardiovascular mortality. We compared aortic PWV of uremic patients before starting hemodialysis treatment with that of patients on maintenance hemodialysis.
Methods: The subjects were 71 patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) before starting hemodialysis (predialysis group), 144 patients on maintenance hemodialysis, and 140 healthy control subjects. These three groups were all nondiabetic and comparable in age and gender.
Results: The hemodialysis group had greater aortic PWV than the healthy subjects, and the predialysis patients showed a still higher value than the hemodialysis group. Multiple regression analysis in the total subjects revealed that the presence of renal failure was significantly associated with increased aortic PWV independent of age, gender, blood pressure, body mass index, smoking, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and nonhigh-density lipoprotein (non-HDL) cholesterol levels. In contrast, hemodialysis was associated with decreased aortic PWV independent of renal failure and the other factors. Further analyses in the combined uremic patients again indicated the favorable impact of hemodialysis on aortic PWV independent of the classical risk factors, use of antihypertensive medications, including angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and calcium channel blockers, hematocrit, serum calcium, phosphorus, parathyroid hormone levels, and the use of calcium carbonate. Insulin resistance using homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR) was associated with increased aortic PWV.
Conclusion: Aortic stiffening was present in uremic patients before starting hemodialysis treatment and no adverse effect of hemodialysis was observed, suggesting the important roles of renal failure and/or metabolic alterations secondary to renal failure in arterial stiffness in patients with uremia.