Cardiovascular disease, which is due in part to progressive vascular calcification, is the leading cause of death among patients with end stage kidney disease (ESKD) on dialysis. A role for vitamin K in the prevention of vascular calcification is plausible based on the presence of vitamin K dependent proteins in vascular tissue, including matrix gla protein (MGP). Evidence from animal models and observational studies support a role for vitamin K in the prevention of vascular calcification. A large-scale study is needed to investigate the effect of vitamin K supplementation on the progression of vascular calcification in patients with ESKD, a group at risk for sub-clinical vitamin K deficiency.
We plan a prospective, randomized, double-blind, multicenter controlled trial of incident ESKD patients on hemodialysis in centers within North America. Eligible subjects with a baseline coronary artery calcium score of greater than or equal to 30 Agatston Units, will be randomly assigned to either the treatment group (10 mg of phylloquinone three times per week) or to the control group (placebo administration three times per week). The primary endpoint is the progression of coronary artery calcification defined as a greater than 15% increase in CAC score over baseline after 12 months.
Vitamin K supplementation is a simple, safe and cost-effective nutritional strategy that can easily be integrated into patient care. If vitamin K reduces the progression of coronary artery calcification it may lead to decreased morbidity and mortality in men and women with ESKD.