Background: Peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients have a high risk of cardiovascular mortality, which is not completely explained by conventional risk factors. Other factors related to chronic renal failure and/or dialysis treatment might lead to endothelial dysfunction, which is associated with an adverse cardiovascular outcome. One such factor is hyperhomocysteinaemia, which has a high prevalence in PD patients.
Methods: A vessel wall movement detector system was used to investigate endothelium-dependent, flow-mediated, and endothelium-independent, glyceryl trinitrate-induced, vasodilatation of the brachial artery in 29 PD patients and 29 control subjects.
Results: Endothelium-dependent vasodilatation was markedly reduced in the PD group: 5.7 +/- 1.0% vs 10.4 +/- 1.3% in the control group (P = 0.004). Endothelium-independent vasodilatation was not impaired. Plasma total homocysteine was elevated in the PD patients (45.2 +/- 6.2 micromol/l), but was not related to endothelium-dependent vasodilatation.
Conclusion: Chronic peritoneal dialysis patients have impaired endothelium-dependent vasodilatation, which may reflect an increased susceptibility for the development of atherosclerosis and thrombosis.