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Kidney Int. 2015 Jan;87(1):195-9. doi: 10.1038/ki.2014.187. Epub 2014 May 28.

The clinical significance of medial arterial calcification in end-stage renal disease in women.

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Renal Division, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Department of Radiology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


Medial arterial calcification is common in advanced kidney disease but its impact on cardiovascular disease is uncertain because imaging techniques used to date cannot reliably distinguish it from atherosclerotic calcification. We have previously shown that breast arterial calcification (BAC) is exclusively medial and is a marker of generalized medial calcification in end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Therefore, the presence of BAC on mammograms in 202 women with ESRD (mean duration 4.1 years) was correlated with cardiovascular events to determine the clinical significance of medial arterial calcification. BAC was found in 58% of the study participants and was significantly associated with age, diabetes, and ESRD duration. Both coronary artery (27 vs. 15%) and peripheral arterial disease (PAD; 19 vs. 4%) were more likely in patients with BAC but only the latter persisted after accounting for other factors (odds ratio 4.6; 95% confidence interval 1.2-15). In 142 women without clinical events before mammography, BAC was associated with a greater incidence of new PAD events (13 vs. 3%) but not coronary artery disease events (11 vs. 11%). Thus, BAC is strongly and independently associated with PAD in women with ESRD and may be predictive of clinical events. This suggests that medial arterial calcification is a clinically significant lesion that may contribute to the accelerated PAD in ESRD.

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