STOCKHOLM—Most hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis patients have aortic calcification (AC) around the time they start dialysis, according to researchers.


A team led by Marlies Noordzij, MSc, of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, studied 428 patients from the Netherlands Cooperative Study on the Adequacy of Dialysis. They screened for AC using annual plain chest x-rays.

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Of the 428 patients, 205 (53%) had moderate AC and 96 (25%) had severe AC at baseline. Thirty percent of these patients experienced progression, defined as an increase in AC between the first and last evaluated x-ray. The mean time between and baseline calcification score and the last available score was 27 months, according to the investigators. These results indicate that plain chest x-rays can be useful for screening dialysis patients for aortic calcification.


Patients who had AC progression had a nearly threefold higher risk of cardiovascular mortality and a nearly twofold higher risk of all-cause mortality compared with those who did not have progression, Dr. Noordzij’s group reported.


Findings were presented here at the European Renal Association-European Dialysis and Transplant Association 2008 congress.