Background: The Agatston score, commonly used to quantify coronary artery calcification (CAC), is determined by the plaque area and density. Despite an excellent predictability of the Agatston score for cardiovascular events, the density of CAC has never been studied in patients with pre-dialysis chronic kidney disease (CKD). This study aimed to analyze the CAC density and its association with serum mineral levels in CKD.
Methods: We enrolled patients with pre-dialysis CKD who had diabetes mellitus, prior cardiovascular disease history, elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, or smoking history. The average CAC density was calculated by dividing the Agatston score by the total area of CAC.
Results: The mean estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) of 109 enrolled patients was 35.7 mL/min/1.73 m2. The correlation of the Agatston score with density was much weaker than that with the total area (R2 = 0.19, P < 0.001; and R2 = 0.99, P < 0.001, respectively). Multivariate analyses showed that serum magnesium level was inversely associated with the density, but not with the total area, after adjustment for demographics and clinical factors related to malnutrition-inflammation-atherosclerosis syndrome and mineral and bone disorders including fibroblast growth factor 23 (P = 0.006). This inverse association was pronounced among patients with higher serum phosphate levels (P for interaction = 0.02).
Conclusion: CAC density was inversely associated with serum magnesium levels, particularly in patients with higher serum phosphate levels.