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ASAIO J. 2006 Mar-Apr;52(2):150-6.

Cardiac calcifications: Fetuin-A and other risk factors in hemodialysis patients.

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Ospedale Israelitico, "Tor Vergata" University, Rome, Italy.


Cardiac calcifications are a frequent finding in hemodialysis for chronic renal failure. Several factors may play a role in the intimal and medial calcification of coronary arteries such as age and some known atherogenetic factors. In addition, Fetuin-A has been proposed as a protective agent through solubilization of calcium phosphate salt. Fetuin-A is also a marker of inflammatory-nutritional state, and its changes could be an expression of this condition. The aim of this cross-sectional study is to evaluate the relative importance of risk factors of calcifications with special regard to Fetuin-A. The study was conducted with 132 hemodialysis patients. They were subjected to multislice computed tomography for evaluation of calcium deposits in the heart. In addition, the patients were sampled for evaluation of calcium-phosphate parameters, lipid profile, nutritional and inflammatory markers, and also Fetuin-A. There was a wide variability of the extent of calcium deposits expressed as Agatston score, with only 9.3% of patients without calcifications. Age, hemodialysis age, sex, calcium-phosphate parameters, and lipid profile were important risk factors, together with nutritional and inflammatory status of the patients. An inverse correlation between coronary calcium score and Fetuin-A emerged from a multiple regression analysis. However, there was no significant difference in serum Fetuin-A among different grades of calcium score. By dividing the patients in tertiles of serum Fetuin-A, an association between low levels of Fetuin-A and high calcification score was found. Fetuin-A as dependent variable was strictly linked to prealbumin serum levels. In addition, there was a clear link between cardiac calcification scores and inflammatory-nutritional markers. Serum calcium and treatment with calcitriol emerged as predictive variables of coronary score.Fetuin-A could be involved in the process of calcification both in the case of markedly low serum levels, due to decreased prevention of calcium phosphate precipitation, and also as a marker of inflammation, a well-known risk factor of atherogenesis. Treatment with intravenous calcitriol could marginally enhance cardiac calcifications, probably through its hypercalcemic effect.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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