Progression of coronary artery calcification in conventional hemodialysis, nocturnal hemodialysis, and kidney transplantation

Thijs T. Jansz,Akin Özyilmaz,Franka E. van Reekum,Franciscus T. J. Boereboom,Pim A. de Jong,Marianne C. Verhaar,Brigit C. van Jaarsveld

Published: December 2020


Introduction: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and is strongly associated with vascular calcification. An important driver of vascular calcification is high phosphate levels, but these become lower when patients initiate nocturnal hemodialysis or receive a kidney transplant. However, it is unknown whether nocturnal hemodialysis or kidney transplantation mitigate vascular calcification. Therefore, we compared progression of coronary artery calcification (CAC) between patients treated with conventional hemodialysis, nocturnal hemodialysis, and kidney transplant recipients.

Methods: We measured CAC annually up to 3 years in 114 patients with ESRD that were transplantation candidates: 32 that continued conventional hemodialysis, 34 that initiated nocturnal hemodialysis (≥4x 8 hours/week), and 48 that received a kidney transplant. We compared CAC progression between groups as the difference in square root transformed volume scores per year (ΔCAC SQRV) using linear mixed models. Reference category was conventional hemodialysis.

Results: The mean age of the study population was 53 ±13 years, 75 (66%) were male, and median dialysis duration was 28 (IQR 12-56) months. Median CAC score at enrollment was 171 (IQR 10-647), which did not differ significantly between treatment groups (P = 0.83). Compared to conventional hemodialysis, CAC progression was non-significantly different in nocturnal hemodialysis -0.10 (95% CI -0.77 to 0.57) and kidney transplantation -0.33 (95% CI -0.96 to 0.29) in adjusted models.

Conclusions: Nocturnal hemodialysis and kidney transplantation are not associated with significantly less CAC progression compared to conventional hemodialysis during up to 3 years follow-up. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings, to determine which type of calcification is measured with CAC in end-stage renal disease, and whether that reflects cardiovascular risk.

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