The recent recognition that hyperphosphatemia is a strong predictor of survival on dialysis has rekindled interest in the regulation and control of serum phosphate. In incipient renal failure hyperphosphatemia is prevented by increased fractional renal phosphate excretion mediated via an increase in parathyroid hormone and the novel phosphaturic hormone FGF-23 (and possibly others). At a glomerular filtration rate of approximately 30 ml/min this compensatory mechanism fails and hyperphosphatemia ensues. Pre-dialytic serum phosphate concentrations of >6 mg/dl increase cardiac mortality presumably to a large extent, but not exclusively, via promoting vascular calcification. It has recently been recognized that vascular calcification is not only a passive precipitation process following transgression of the critical Ca-x-P product, but is an active process accompanied by expression of osteoblastic bone markers in the vessel wall. Because of the recent recognition of the relation between vascular calcification and serum phosphate as well as serum calcium, there is a need for novel calcium-free phosphate binders. Currently sevelamer and lanthanum carbonate have been introduced and trivalent iron preparations are under development.
Copyright 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel.