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Kidney Int. 2006 Jul;70(1):157-64. Epub 2006 May 17.

Laser Doppler flowmetry detection of endothelial dysfunction in end-stage renal disease patients: correlation with cardiovascular risk.

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Department of Medicine, New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York 10595, USA.


Prediction of cardiovascular (CV) complications represents the Achilles' heel of end-stage renal disease. Surrogate markers of endothelial dysfunction have been advocated as predictors of CV risk in this cohort of patients. We have recently adapted a noninvasive laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF) functional testing of endothelium-dependent microvascular reactivity and demonstrated that end-stage renal disease patients are characterized by profound alterations in thermal hyperemic responsiveness. We hypothesized that such functional assessment of the cutaneous microcirculation may offer a valid, noninvasive test of the severity of endothelial dysfunction and CV risk. To test this hypothesis, we performed a cross-sectional study, in which we compared LDF measurements to conventional risk factors, and performed a pilot longitudinal study. LDF studies were performed in 70 patients and 33 controls. Framingham and Cardiorisk scores were near equivalent for low-risk patients, but more divergent as risk increased. C reactive protein (CRP) levels and LDF parameters (amplitude of thermal hyperemia (TH), area under the curve of TH) showed significant abnormality in high-risk vs low-risk patients calculated using either Framingham or Cardiorisk scores. Patients who had abnormal LDF parameters showed increased CV mortality, however, had similar risk assessments (Framingham, Cardiorisk, CRP, and homocysteine) to those with unimpaired LDF tracings. In conclusion, LDF parameters of microvascular reactivity offer a sensitive characterization of endothelial dysfunction, which may improve CV risk assessment through incorporation into the Framingham or Cardiorisk algorithm.

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