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Med Sci Monit. 2012 Jan;18(1):RA1-11.

The mechanism of vascular calcification - a systematic review.

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Department of Pathophysiology of Pregnancy, District Hospital in Bialystok, Bialystok, Poland.


Calcification of vessels reduces their elasticity, affecting hemodynamic parameters of the cardiovascular system. The development of arterial hypertension, cardiac hypertrophy, ischemic heart disease or peripheral arterial disease significantly increases mortality in patients over 60 years of age. Stage of advancement and the extent of accumulation of calcium deposits in vessel walls are key risk factors of ischemic events. Vascular calcification is an active and complex process that involves numerous mechanisms responsible for calcium depositions in arterial walls. They lead to increase in arterial stiffness and in pulse wave velocity, which in turn increases cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality. In-depth study and thorough understanding of vascular calcification mechanisms may be crucial for establishing an effective vasculoprotective therapy. The aim of this study was to present a comprehensive survey of current state-of-the-art research into the impact of metabolic and hormonal disorders on development of vascular calcification. Due to strong resemblance to the processes occurring in bone tissue, drugs used for osteoporosis treatment (calcitriol, estradiol, bisphosphonates) may interfere with the processes occurring in the vessel wall. On the other hand, drugs used to treat cardiovascular problems (statins, angiotensin convertase inhibitors, warfarin, heparins) may have an effect on bone tissue metabolism. Efforts to optimally control calcium and phosphate concentrations are also beneficial for patients with end-stage renal disease, for whom vessel calcification remains a major problem.

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