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Kidney Int. 2005 Jan;67(1):333-40.

Clinical and pathologic characteristics of dilated cardiomyopathy in hemodialysis patients.

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Division of Cardiology, Mitsui Memorial Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.



Some dialysis patients have impaired left ventricular (LV) function without coronary artery disease. The pathologic changes and prognoses of these patients have not been well described.


We performed LV endomyocardial biopsies on 40 hemodialysis patients with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM; an ejection fraction <50% and a left ventricular end-diastolic volume index >90 mL/m(2) without coronary artery disease), and on 50 nondialysis patients with idiopathic DCM as the control group. Following LV biopsies, the patients were followed-up for a mean of 3.1 +/- 2.3 years.


The pathologic characteristics of the dialysis group were severe myocyte hypertrophy (the mean myocyte diameter across the nucleus: 37.6 +/- 10.5 mum vs. 25.6 +/- 7.7 mum, P= 0.001), myocyte disarray (30%), and extensive fibrosis (the mean percent area of left ventricular fibrosis: 22.3 +/- 18.4% vs. 21.3 +/- 14.6%, P= NS). These pathologic characteristics resembled the dilated phase of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In the dialysis group, a high percent area of LV fibrosis was the only significant predictor of cardiac death by multivariate analysis (P= 0.02). The 3-year cumulative event-free survival rate for cardiac death in dialysis patients with severe fibrosis (more than 30%) was 42%, while that for patients without severe fibrosis was 82% (P= 0.03).


The pathologic characteristics of the heart in dialysis patients with DCM are interstitial fibrosis and severe myocyte hypertrophy with occasional disarray. The extent of LV fibrosis is a strong predictor of cardiac death. Careful follow-up and treatment are necessary for dialysis patients with a high percent area of LV fibrosis.

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