Coronary calcification in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular outcomes and death from all causes. Previous evidence has been limited by short follow-up periods and inclusion of a heterogeneous cluster of events in the primary analyses.
To describe coronary calcification in patients incident to ESRD, and to identify whether calcification predicts vascular events or death.
Prospective substudy of an inception cohort.
Tertiary care haemodialysis centre in Ontario (St Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton).
Patients starting haemodialysis who were new to ESRD.
At baseline, clinical characterization and spiral computed tomography (CT) to score coronary calcification by the Agatston-Janowitz 130 scoring method. A primary outcome composite of adjudicated stroke, myocardial infarction, or death.
We followed patients prospectively to identify the relationship between cardiac calcification and subsequent stroke, myocardial infarction, or death, using Cox regression.
We recruited 248 patients in 3 centres to our main study, which required only biochemical markers. Of these 164 were at St Joseph's healthcare, and eligible to participate in the substudy; of these, 51 completed CT scanning (31 %). Median follow up was 26 months (Q1, Q3: 14, 34). The primary outcome occurred in 16 patients; 11 in the group above the median and 5 in the group below ( p = 0.086). There were 26 primary outcomes in 16 patients; 20 (77 %) events in the group above the coronary calcification median and 6 (23 %) in the group below ( p = 0.006). There were 10 deaths; 8 in the group above the median compared with 2 in the group below ( p = 0.04). The hazard ratios for coronary calcification above, compared with below the median, for the primary outcome composite were 2.5 (95 % CI 0.87, 7.3; p = 0.09) and 1.7 (95 % CI 0.55, 5.4; p = 0.4), unadjusted and adjusted for age, respectively. For death, the hazard ratios were 4.6 (95 % CI 0.98, 21.96; p = 0.054) and 2.4 (95 % CI 0.45, 12.97; p = 0.3) respectively.
We were limited by a small sample size and a small number of events.
Respondent burden is high for additional testing around the initiation of dialysis. High coronary calcification in patients new to ESRD has a tendency to predict cardiovascular outcomes and death, though effects are attenuated when adjusted for age.