Cardiac disease in chronic uremia: pathogenesis

Adv Ren Replace Ther. 1997 Jul;4(3):194-211. doi: 10.1016/s1073-4449(97)70029-3.


Cardiomyopathy in chronic uremia results from pressure and volume overload. The former causes concentric left ventricular [LV] hypertrophy, results from hypertension and aortic stenosis, and is also associated with diabetes mellitus and anemia. Volume overload causes LV dilatation, results from arteriovenous shunting, salt and water overload, and anemia, and is also associated with ischemic heart disease, hypertension, and hypoalbuminemia. Decreased major arterial compliance and an early return of arterial wave reflections are also associated with the extent of LV hypertrophy. Cardiomyopathy predisposes to diastolic and systolic dysfunction. The latter results from myocyte death, and predisposing factors include ischemic heart disease and the uremic environment. Ischemic heart disease may be atherosclerotic or nonatherosclerotic in origin. Multiple factors contribute to the vascular pathology of chronic uremia, including injury to the vessel wall, dyslipidemia, prothrombotic factors, increased oxidant stress, and hyperhomocysteinemia. Ischemic risk factors include hypertension, LV hypertrophy, hypoalbuminemia, and perhaps hyperparathyroidism. The clinical consequences of cardiomyopathy include heart failure, ischemic heart disease, dialysis hypotension, and arrhythmias. The adverse impact of ischemic heart disease is probably mediated through the development of cardiac failure.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Heart Diseases / etiology
  • Heart Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Uremia / complications
  • Uremia / physiopathology*