It is increasingly acknowledged that mineral and bone disorders (MBDs) contribute to the excessively high cardiovascular (CV) disease morbidity and mortality observed in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). There is ongoing debate as to whether screening for CV calcification, one of the hallmarks of CKD-MBD, should be implemented in clinical practice in patients with CKD. Issues to be considered in this controversy relate to prevalence, severity, relevance, and last but not least, modifiability and reversibility of vascular and valvular calcifications in the setting of CKD. The recent expansion of the armamentarium to treat CKD-MBD (calcium-free phosphate binders and calcimimetics) creates new opportunities. Mounting experimental and clinical evidence indicates that progression of CV calcification may indeed be attenuated. Whether this will translate into better outcomes remains to be proven. We acknowledge that hard outcome data so far are limited and, overall, yielded inconclusive results. Nevertheless, in an era in which personalized medicine has gained much popularity, we consider it reasonable, awaiting the results of additional studies, to screen for CV calcification in selected individuals. This policy may help to stratify CV risk and to guide therapy. We speculate that such an approach will ultimately improve outcomes and reduce health costs.
Keywords: chronic kidney disease; dialysis; hyperphosphataemia; vascular calcification.
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of ERA-EDTA. All rights reserved.