Disordered mineral metabolism in hemodialysis patients: an analysis of cumulative effects in the Hemodialysis (HEMO) Study

Am J Kidney Dis. 2008 Sep;52(3):531-40. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2008.05.020. Epub 2008 Jul 26.


Background: Serum markers of disordered mineral metabolism have been associated with adverse outcomes in patients requiring long-term dialysis therapy. Although the values of these markers often evolve over time, no study has examined the accumulated effects of these abnormalities on important clinical end points.

Study design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting & participants: 1,846 prevalent hemodialysis patients randomly assigned in the Hemodialysis (HEMO) Study.

Predictors: Serum phosphorus, calcium, calcium-phosphorus (Ca x P) product, and intact parathyroid hormone, each analyzed at the time of randomization (baseline), as a standard time-dependent covariate and as a cumulative time-dependent covariate.

Outcomes: All-cause mortality and the composite of all-cause mortality and first cardiac hospitalization.

Measurements: Cox proportional hazards models.

Results: In all analyses, serum phosphorus level greater than 6 mg/dL was associated with a heightened risk of mortality of approximately 25% compared with phosphorus values of 4.1 to 5 mg/dL. Serum calcium level greater than 11 mg/dL was associated with a 60% greater risk of death, but only when this parameter was analyzed as either a time-dependent or cumulative time-dependent variable. Ca x P product greater than 50 mg(2)/dL(2) was strongly associated with mortality, but only when assessed cumulatively. Similar relationships were observed when phosphorus, calcium, and Ca x P product values were related to the composite end point of all-cause mortality and first cardiac hospitalization. No relationships between baseline, time-dependent, and cumulative time-dependent intact parathyroid hormone levels and the outcomes of interest were observed.

Limitations: Residual confounding, lack of access to patient information before randomization in the HEMO Study, and concerns regarding generalizability given changes in practice patterns since the completion of the HEMO Study.

Conclusions: Cumulative time-dependent analyses provide a different framework for analyzing the impact of factors that may mediate adverse events in hemodialysis patients. Our findings support maintaining serum phosphorus levels at less than 6 mg/dL, calcium levels at less than 11 mg/dL, and Ca x P product at less than 50 mg(2)/dL(2).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium Metabolism Disorders / etiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperphosphatemia / etiology
  • Male
  • Metabolic Diseases / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Minerals / metabolism*
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Phosphates / metabolism
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*
  • Renal Dialysis / mortality
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Minerals
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Phosphates
  • Calcium