SAN DIEGO—Sodium thiosulfate may confer a survival advantage to hemodialysis patients with calciphylaxis, a frequently fatal condition, investigators reported at Kidney Week 2015.

In a retrospective review of ESRD patient records over a 10-year period, Chamberlain I. Obialo MBBS, and Alexander Quarshie, MBChB, of the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, identified 45 patients with biopsy-confirmed calciphylaxis. Of these, 23 (51%) received sodium thiosulfate and 22 (49%) did not. One-year mortality was 22% in the STS group compared with 50% in the no-STS group.

Patients who did not receive sodium thiosulfate were more likely to have major surgeries than those who received the drug (86% vs. 52%).

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“We encourage hospitals and dialysis companies to procure and make this agent more available to physicians,” the authors concluded in their study abstract. They noted that sodium thiosulfate was infrequently available to their patients both at the hospital and their dialysis facilities. Thus, some patients received STS, whereas others could not.

Calciphylaxis, also called calcific uremic arteriolopathy, typically develops as an extremely painful skin nodule or plaque that often progresses to cutaneous ulcers and necrosis, the authors explained. It is associated with a high mortality rate and there is no definitive therapy for the condition.