Background: Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death among end-stage renal disease patients. There is evidence that coronary calcification is a marker of atherosclerotic vascular disease and is predictive of cardiovascular events, especially in patients on renal replacement therapy. It has recently been suggested that CHD begins in the pre-dialysis period. However, data regarding coronary calcification in this population is scarce. This study was aimed at evaluating such coronary calcification and identifying related factors.
Methods: A total of 96 chronic kidney disease out-patients who were not on dialysis were included. Patients presenting neoplastic, infectious or inflammatory diseases were excluded. Demographic characteristics, clinical profiles, laboratory test results and multislice computed tomography scans were evaluated.
Results: The median age was 55 years (range 20-69 years), 67% were men and the median creatinine clearance was 37 ml/min/1.73 m(2). Coronary calcification, defined as a coronary artery calcification score (CACS) >0 Agatston units (AU), was seen in 61 patients (median 89.1 AU, range 0.37-2299.3 AU). On average, these patients were older, more often had diabetes, higher body mass indices and higher Framingham risk indices, as well as presenting higher proteinuria, intact parathyroid hormone (iPTH), blood glucose and triglyceride levels compared with those without calcification. Multiple logistic regression analysis, adjusted for age and diabetes, identified iPTH and triglyceride levels as independent determinants of calcification. Severe calcification (CACS >400 AU) was seen in 22 patients, who were also older and more frequently had a history of cardiovascular disease (CVD), as well as having higher levels of phosphorus, blood glucose and soluble Fas (sFas). Multiple logistic regression analysis, adjusted for age and diabetes, identified phosphorus and sFas levels as independent determinants of severe coronary calcification.
Conclusion: Coronary calcification is highly prevalent in pre-dialysis patients and correlates with traditional and non-traditional risk factors for CVD.