Highlights• High parathyroid hormone levels and subsequent bone loss are major risk factors for worsening of coronary artery calcification in patients on dialysis.

Approximately 2 million kidney disease patients in the world receive some sort of dialysis treatment.

Newswise — Washington, DC (April 2, 2015) — Bone loss may be a sign of poor heart health in patients on dialysis, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). Monitoring bone loss in dialysis patients may therefore provide an early alert to physicians concerning cardiovascular problems.

Most patients with chronic kidney disease who are on dialysis have a buildup of calcium in the arteries around the heart. When such coronary artery calcification worsens, it can lead to heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in dialysis patients.

To identify patients at high risk for progression of coronary artery calcification, Hartmut Malluche, MD, FACP (University of Kentucky) and his colleagues conducted tests to analyze abnormalities in blood, bone, and heart vessels in 213 patients on dialysis over a 1-year period. “We discovered that high parathyroid hormone and the consequential bone loss are major risk factors for progression of vascular calcifications,” said Dr. Malluche. “These two factors were heretofore not appreciated and were independent from traditional known risk factors.” (High parathyroid hormone levels signal the bone to release calcium into the blood, which can lead to the development of thin bones.)

Dr. Malluche noted that there may be important links between the calcification levels in bones and those in blood vessels. “Studies need to be done to find out whether prevention of bone loss will reduce progression of vascular calcifications,” he said.

Study co-authors include Gustav Blomquist, MD, Marie-Claude Monier-Faugere, MD, Thomas Cantor, and Daniel Davenport, PhD.

Disclosures: The authors reported no financial disclosures.

The article, entitled “High Parathyroid Hormone Level and Osteoporosis Predict Progression of Coronary Artery Calcification in Patients on Dialysis,” will appear online at http://jasn.asnjournals.org/ on April 2, 2015. The content of this article does not reflect the views or opinions of The American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s). ASN does not offer medical advice. All content in ASN publications is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions, or adverse effects. This content should not be used during a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about a medical condition, or before taking any drug, changing your diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment. Do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of information accessed through ASN. Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies.Founded in 1966, and with more than 15,000 members, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) leads the fight against kidney disease by educating health professionals, sharing new knowledge, advancing research, and advocating the highest quality care for patients.# # #

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