Background: Hemodialysis (HD) patients often experience cardiovascular events, that might be related to altered calcium-phosphate metabolism, dyslipidemia, and chronic inflammation in addition to hypertension. Sevelamer, a non-calcium-containing phosphate binder, may improve the lipid profile of HD patients. However, the influence of sevelamer on chronic inflammation has not been clarified.
Methods: We enrolled 36 maintenance HD patients with a serum calcium (Ca) or phosphate (P) level constantly greater than 9.5 mg/dL and 5.5 mg/dL, respectively. The dose of sevelamer was titrated to achieve a serum Ca and P in the target ranges. The study period was 24 weeks. Patients underwent the following measurements: bone mineral markers, lipids, and a high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP).
Results: In the 28 patients who completed the study, sevelamer significantly reduced the mean non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C) level by 15% and 20% (p < 0.0001) after 12 and 24 weeks, respectively, in addition to reducing the serum P level and Ca x P product. Similarly, there was a significant reduction of the serum hs-CRP level after 12 and 24 weeks [median at baseline: 1.03 mg/dL (interquartile range 0.26-3.98 mg/dL) versus 0.57 (0.17-1.47) and 0.38 (0.16-1.03), respectively, p = 0.0259]. The reduction rate of hs-CRP was significantly correlated with those of non-HDL-C (r = 0.451, p < 0.0401) and P (r = 0.453, p < 0.0008)
Conclusion: Hs-CRP levels were reduced by sevelamer administration, as well as non-HDL-C, P, and the Ca x P product. Sevelamer may have an anti-inflammatory effect, in addition to lowering phosphate and lipid levels in HD patients.