Intractable wounds caused by calcific uremic arteriolopathy treated with bisphosphonates

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007 Dec;57(6):1021-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2007.06.029.


Background: Calcific uremic arteriolopathy (calciphylaxis) is a calcification syndrome that predominantly affects relatively small vessels and is a life-threatening entity usually seen in patients with end-stage renal disease. Intractable skin necrosis sometimes causes lethal sepsis because it progresses rapidly as a result of mechanical stress.

Objective: We sought to investigate the efficacy of etidronate disodium (bisphosphonates) in treating intractable ulcers occurred in a patient on hemodialysis accompanied with calcific uremic arteriolopathy.

Methods and results: A 53-year-old patient receiving hemodialysis with chronic renal failure accompanied with calciphylaxis had bilateral leg ulcers caused by minor trauma. The aggressive debridement worsened his skin condition as is usually seen in pyoderma gangrenosum. It eventually healed by lowering calcium-phosphorus levels with the administration of bisphosphonates and with the continuous use of sevelamer hydrochloride.

Limitations: This study reporting a single case limits the interpretation of results.

Conclusion: Bisphosphonates may be effective in treating calciphylaxis and arteriosclerosis obliterans by reducing the formation of ectopic calcification around blood vessels.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calciphylaxis / drug therapy*
  • Calciphylaxis / etiology
  • Etidronic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Skin Ulcer / drug therapy
  • Skin Ulcer / etiology*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Etidronic Acid