Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major public health concern due to the high prevalence of associated cardiovascular (CV) disease. CV mortality is 10-30 times higher in end-stage renal disease patients than in the age-adjusted general population. The last 20 years have been marked by a huge effort in the characterization of the vascular remodeling process associated with CKD and its consequences on the renal, CV and general prognosis. By comparison with patients with normal renal function, with or without hypertension, an increase in large artery stiffness has been described in end-stage renal disease as well as in CKD stages 2-5. Most clinical studies are consistent with the observation that damage to large arteries may contribute to the high incidence of CV disease. By contrast, the impact of large artery stiffening and remodeling on CKD progression is still a matter of debate. Concomitant exposure to other CV risk factors, including diabetes, seems to play a major role in the association between aortic stiffness and estimated GFR. The conflicting results obtained from longitudinal studies designed to evaluate the impact of baseline aortic stiffness on GFR progression are detailed in the present review. Only pulse pressure, central and peripheral, is almost constantly associated with incident CKD and GFR decline. Kidney transplantation improves patients' CV prognosis, but its impact on arterial stiffness is still controversial. Donor age, living kidney donation and mean blood pressure appear to be the main determinants of improvement in aortic stiffness after kidney transplantation.
Keywords: Artery; Chronic kidney disease; Remodeling; Stiffness.