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J Am Soc Nephrol. 1999 May;10(5):1027-36.

The low molecular weight apo(a) phenotype is an independent predictor for coronary artery disease in hemodialysis patients: a prospective follow-up.

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  • 1Institute of Medical Biology and Human Genetics, University of Innsbruck, Austria.


Patients with end-stage renal disease treated by hemodialysis have a tremendous risk for cardiovascular complications that cannot be explained by traditional atherosclerosis risk factors. Lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)), a risk factor for these complications in the general population, is significantly elevated in these patients. In this study, it was determined whether Lp(a) and/or the genetically determined apo(a) phenotype are risk predictors for the development of coronary artery disease in these patients. A cohort of 440 unselected hemodialysis patients were followed for a period of 5 yr independent of the cause of renal disease, duration of preceding treatment, and the preexistence of coronary artery disease at study entry. Coronary events defined as definite myocardial infarction, percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty, aortocoronary bypass, or a stenosis >50% in the coronary angiography were the main outcome measure. Sixty-six (15%) of the 440 patients suffered a coronary event during follow-up. In univariate analysis, patients with events were significantly older and showed a trend to lower HDL cholesterol concentrations, and higher apolipoprotein B and Lp(a) concentrations without reaching significance. Apo(a) phenotypes of low molecular weight, however, were significantly more frequent in patients with compared to those without events (43.9% versus 21.9%, P<0.001). The other lipids, lipoproteins, and apolipoproteins were similar in both groups. Multiple Cox proportional hazards regression analysis found age and the apo(a) phenotype to be the best predictors for coronary events during the observation period, independent of whether patients with a preexisting coronary artery disease or an age >65 yr at the study entry or both were excluded from the analysis. Diabetes mellitus was a risk factor only in presence of a low molecular weight apo(a) phenotype. The genetically determined apo(a) phenotype is a strong and independent predictor for coronary events in hemodialysis patients. Apo(a) phenotyping might be helpful to identify hemodialysis patients at high risk for coronary artery disease.

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