Higher Phosphorus Levels, Atherosclerosis Linked

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Higher Phosphorus Levels, Atherosclerosis Linked
Higher Phosphorus Levels, Atherosclerosis Linked

This article is part of our ongoing coverage of Renal Week 2009. Click here for a complete list of our Renal Week Live articles.


Key Points

  • Higher phosphorus levels are associated with peripheral atherosclerosis and arterial stiffness, independent of traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
  • These associations may account for the recognized association between phosphorus and CVD events.
  • Compared with the reference group, the low and high ankle-brachial index groups had significantly higher serum phosphorus levels.

Higher phosphorus levels are associated with peripheral atherosclerosis and arterial stiffness, independent of traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a study.

These associations may account for the recognized association between phosphorus and CVD events, researchers concluded.

In a study of 5,366 community-dwelling older men (mean age 74 years, 90% white) participating in the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study, Jerry Meng, MD, a transplant nephrologist at the University of California at San Diego and collaborators divided subjects into three categories of ankle-brachial index (ABI): low ABI (below 0.90), intermediate (0.90 to 1.40), and high (greater than 1.40/incompressible vessels).

A low ABI suggests peripheral atherosclerosis and a high ABI suggests arterial stiffness. Subjects with an intermediate ABI group served as the reference group.

The study group had a mean serum phosphorus level of 3.2 mg/dL. A total of 329 patients (6%) had a low ABI and 248 patients (5%) had a high ABI, Dr. Meng reported. Each 1 mg/dL higher serum phosphorus level was associated with a 59% greater prevalence of low ABI and a 38% greater prevalence of high ABI compared with the reference group, after adjusting for age, race, diabetes, hypertension, and numerous other potential confounders.

Compared with the reference group, the low and high ABI groups had significantly higher serum phosphorus levels.

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