Vascular and valvular calcifications are highly prevalent in kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) and are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events, which represent the leading cause of long-term mortality in these patients. However, cardiovascular calcification has been traditionally considered as a condition mostly associated with advanced chronic kidney disease stages and dialysis, and comparatively fewer studies have assessed its impact after kidney transplantation. Despite partial or complete resolution of uraemia-associated metabolic derangements, KTRs are still exposed to several pro-calcifying stimuli that favour the progression of pre-existing vascular calcifications or their de novo development. Traditional risk factors, bone mineral disorders, inflammation, immunosuppressive drugs and deficiency of calcification inhibitors may all play a role, and strategies to correct or minimize their effects are urgently needed. The aim of this work is to provide an overview of established and putative mediators involved in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular calcification in kidney transplantation, and to describe the clinical and radiological features of these forms. We also discuss current evidence on preventive strategies to delay the progression of cardiovascular calcifications in KTRs, as well as novel therapeutic candidates to potentially prevent their long-term deleterious effects.
Keywords: arteriosclerosis; cardiovascular disease; chronic kidney disease; renal transplantation; vascular calcification.
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