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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2009 Feb;20(2):388-96. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2008060609. Epub 2008 Dec 17.

Phosphorus binders and survival on hemodialysis.

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Renal Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Although hyperphosphatemia is a risk factor for mortality, there are limited data on whether therapy with phosphorus binders affects survival. We analyzed a prospective cohort study of 10,044 incident hemodialysis patients using Cox proportional hazards analyses to compare 1-yr all-cause mortality among patients who were or were not treated with phosphorus binders. We performed intention-to-treat analyses to compare patients who began treatment with phosphorus binders during the first 90 d after initiating hemodialysis (n = 3555) with those who remained untreated during that period (n = 5055). We also performed as-treated analyses that modeled phosphorus binder treatment as a time-dependent exposure. We compared survival in a subcohort of treated (n = 3186) and untreated (n = 3186) patients matched by their baseline serum phosphate levels and propensity score of receiving phosphorus binders during the first 90 d. One-year mortality was 191 deaths/1000 patient-years at risk. Treatment with phosphorus binders was independently associated with decreased mortality compared with no treatment in the intention-to-treat, as-treated, and matched analyses. The results were independent of baseline and follow-up serum phosphate levels and persisted in analyses that excluded deaths during the first 90 d of hemodialysis. In summary, treatment with phosphorus binders is independently associated with improved survival among incident hemodialysis patients. Although confirmatory studies are needed in the dialysis setting, future placebo-controlled, randomized trials of phosphorus binders might focus on predialysis patients with chronic kidney disease and normal serum phosphate levels.

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