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Calcium Buildup in Coronary Arteries Predictor of Heart Disease in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

By Burg Simpson
January 23, 2015
2 min read

A new study found the calcium buildup in arteries in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) may better indicate the patient’s risk of heart disease compared to traditional measures, according to Health Canal.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and other medical institutions measured whether artery calcium scores were better linked to the risk of heart disease in patients with CKD than the thickness of artery walls at various locations in the body. The scientists studied 6,553 patients between the ages of 45 and 84, who had not previously been diagnosed with heart disease. Calcium in blood vessel walls, the thickness of carotid artery walls and the narrowness of arteries in the legs for all patients, those with and without CKD, were measured.

The findings
After approximately 8 years, the researchers followed up with the study participants and found 650 cardiovascular events including heart disease, stroke, heart failure, and peripheral artery disease had occurred. Of the patients who experienced cardiovascular events, 236 of them had CKD.

The researchers concluded the coronary calcium scores were more likely to predict a cardiovascular event in patients with and without CKD than the thickness of carotid artery walls or the narrowing of arteries in the legs.

Importance of the study
About half of patients with CKD die from heart disease, according to Health Canal. Any measure that can better predict negative heart events is important for physicians working with patients with CKD.

Prior to the study, researchers were unsure whether calcium scores would be helpful in predicting heart disease in CKD patients because the kidneys regulate calcium in the body and people with CKD can have a different calcium metabolism than a person without CKD, Health Canal reported.

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