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Kidney Int. 2006 Aug;70(3):543-8. Epub 2006 Jun 14.

A simple score predicts future cardiovascular events in an inception cohort of dialysis patients.

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Department of Medical Genetics, Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology, Division of Genetic Epidemiology, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.


Vascular calcifications are very common in dialysis patients and have been shown to be associated independently with outcome. However, all of these studies used prevalent patients on dialysis since many years. We investigated vascular calcifications in an inception cohort of dialysis patients and followed them for cardiovascular disease outcomes during an average observation period of 66 months. One hundred and fifty-four Caucasian dialysis patients were enrolled in one Austrian dialysis center. Standardized plain radiographs from the pelvis and calves were carried out in all patients at the start of dialysis therapy. Vascular calcifications were assessed by a single radiologist. At the start of renal replacement therapy, 67.5% of the patients showed vascular calcifications. During follow-up, 29.9% of patients suffered a cardiovascular event. An additive 'vascular risk score', constructed from the presence of vascular calcifications and/or previous cardiovascular events before the start of dialysis treatment, showed the strongest independent association with cardiovascular events in the Cox regression model adjusted for various risk factors. The presence of each of these two conditions was associated with a hazard ratio of 2.03 (95% confidence interval 1.19-3.46) and a hazard ratio twice as high if both conditions were present. In summary, vascular calcifications on plain X-rays of pelvis and calves are largely present in incident dialysis patients. A history of a cardiovascular event in the predialysis period together with vascular calcifications at the beginning of dialysis therapy is a more powerful predictor of a cardiovascular event than age, smoking, diabetes, or other traditional risk factors.

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