Mismatch between stiffness in elastic and muscular arteries as a predictor of vascular calcification in dialysis patients

Aging Clin Exp Res. 2018 Apr;30(4):375-382. doi: 10.1007/s40520-017-0787-7. Epub 2017 Jun 28.


Background: Vascular calcification is one of the risk factors for arterial stiffness in patients with chronic kidney disease. We hypothesized that a mismatch between elastic and muscular arteries, represented as pulse wave velocity (PWV) ratio, could depict the extent of vascular calcification in end-stage renal disease. We also aimed to compare the predictive PWV ratio value to other factors possibly related to vascular calcification in dialysis population.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, in 60 chronic dialysis patients without previous cerebrovascular events, cardiovascular disease and events or clinically evident peripheral artery disease (ankle-brachial index >0.9), carotid-femoral and carotid-radial PWV as well as central hemodynamic parameters were measured by applanation tonometry (SphygmoCor). The PWV ratio using carotid-femoral PWV divided by carotid-radial PWV was calculated. Each patient underwent blood tests and chest X-ray for aortic arch calcification scoring. Two experienced radiologists blinded to patient's medical data evaluated chest X-rays (Cohen's kappa coefficient 0.76) and calculated how many sectors were calcified (Ogawa et al. in Hemodial Int 13:301-306, 2009). Differently scored chest X-rays were repeatedly reviewed and a consensus was reached.

Results: The study population consisted of 31 (51.7%) males and 29 (48.3%) females, mean age 52.73 ± 13.76 years. Increased risk for aortic arch calcification was associated with higher PWV ratio even after adjustment for age, height, heart rate, ferritin level and C-reactive protein level (OR 2.59E+04, 95% CI 2.43E+01, 2.65E+09, p = 0.021). PWV ratio together with above-mentioned variables could predict the presence of aortic arch calcification with specificity of 93% (95% CI 78, 99%) and sensitivity of 53% (95% CI 34, 72%).

Conclusion: The elastic and muscular arteries' stiffness mismatch was strongly associated with the extent of aortic arch calcification in this dialysis population and had better calcification predictive value compared to other demographic, hemodynamic and biochemical markers.

Keywords: Arterial stiffness; Chronic kidney disease; Dialysis; Pulse wave velocity ratio; Vascular calcification.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arteries / physiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulse Wave Analysis
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*
  • Vascular Calcification / etiology*
  • Vascular Stiffness*