Aims: To analyze the relationship between oral active vitamin D treatment and mortality in maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) patients.
Methods: We examined the association of oral calcitriol treatment with mortality in 156 MHD patients (80 men and 76 women; mean age: 59 ± 15 years). The survival analysis of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality was performed using the Kaplan-Meier survival and Cox proportional-hazards analyses.
Results: In all, 108 of the 156 patients received active vitamin D treatment. The intact parathyroid hormone level was obviously lower in the patients who received active vitamin D treatment than in those who did not. Throughout the whole follow-up, overall mortality was 16.7% (26 deaths, 13 in each group). The cardiovascular mortality rates were 14.6% (8/48) in the control group and 4.6% (5/108) in the calcitriol group. The crude analysis of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality using the Kaplan-Meier curve showed a significant reduction in mortality risk for patients who received oral active vitamin D compared with those who did not receive it (p = 0.015 and 0.026, respectively). Cox's regression analysis showed that active vitamin D treatment was associated with a significantly lower risk of all-cause mortality (RR = 0.399, 95% CI 0.185-0.862, p = 0.019) and cardiovascular mortality (RR = 0.295, 95% CI 0.094-0.93, p = 0.037). However, after adjusting for potential confounding variables, oral active vitamin D therapy was no longer clearly associated with a lower risk of either all-cause or cardiovascular mortality.
Conclusion: Oral active vitamin D treatment was associated with improved survival in MHD patients. However, this survival benefit was smaller than previously reported, and a large cohort study should be performed.
Keywords: 25(OH)D; Active vitamin D; All-cause mortality; Calcitriol; Cardiovascular mortality; Maintenance hemodialysis.