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      Non-Occlusive Mesenteric Ischemia in Chronically Dialyzed Patients: A Disease with Multiple Risk Factors

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          Background: Non-occlusive mesenteric ischemia (NOMI) can be a fatal complication in dialysis patients. Intradialytic hypotension is usually the precipitating factor. The occurrence of 16 cases in 5 years (1998–2002), compared with only 4 in previous years, led us to investigate other risk factors contributing to NOMI. A control group of stable hemodialysis patients was used for comparison. Results: 20 patients were studied: 17 diagnosed surgically, and 3 clinically. The mean age was 70.8 ± 1.8 years, and the male:female ratio 7:13. Nineteen patients were on hemodialysis. Clinically overt atherosclerosis was present in 17 patients. Preceding dialysis-associated hypotension was identified in all patients studied and access thrombosis in 6 patients. In all patients, abdominal pain was the presenting symptom. Initial abdominal examination was unimpressive in 16 patients. The hemoconcentration, leukocytosis and metabolic acidosis were the most prominent laboratory findings. 5/11 abdominal sonograms showed intestinal pathology. 2/3 angiographies were diagnostic. Three patients responded to early fluid challenge and did not require surgery. Pathology was related to the area of the superior mesenteric artery in all 15 patients operated. Twelve (60%) patients died from the event. The 1-year mortality rate was 17/20 patients (85%). Possible contributing factors, other than dialysis-associated hypotension, included: high-dose recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO) therapy (179 ± 35 vs. 116 ± 10 U/kg/week in the control group, p < 0.05); metastatic calcifications (abdominal aorta 14/14, aortic valve 11/18; medial calcification of mesenteric arteries in 2/11 pathology specimens); digoxin, and hypoalbuminemia. Conclusions: The increased incidence of NOMI in dialysis patients may be related to overly aggressive rhEPO therapy and the unsuspected presence of mesenteric arterial medial calcifications. Identification of patients at risk, prevention of intradialytic hypotension and a controlled increase in dry weight may help to reduce the incidence of NOMI in chronically dialyzed patients.

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          Most cited references 20

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          Left ventricular mass index increase in early renal disease: Impact of decline in hemoglobin

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            Effect of hemoglobin levels in hemodialysis patients with asymptomatic cardiomyopathy.

            Hemoglobin levels below 10 g/dL lead to left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy, LV dilation, a lower quality of life, higher cardiac morbidity, and a higher mortality rate in end-stage renal disease. The benefits and risks of normalizing hemoglobin levels in hemodialysis patients without symptomatic cardiac disease are unknown. One hundred forty-six hemodialysis patients with either concentric LV hypertrophy or LV dilation were randomly assigned to receive doses of epoetin alpha designed to achieve hemoglobin levels of 10 or 13.5 g/dL. The study duration was 48 weeks. The primary outcomes were the change in LV mass index in those with concentric LV hypertrophy and the change in cavity volume index in those with LV dilation. In patients with concentric LV hypertrophy, the changes in LV mass index were similar in the normal and low target hemoglobin groups. The changes in cavity volume index were similar in both targets in the LV dilation group. Treatment-received analysis of the concentric LV hypertrophy group showed no correlation between the change in mass index and a correlation between the change in LV volume index and mean hemoglobin level achieved (8 mL/m2 per 1 g/dL hemoglobin decrement, P = 0.009). Mean hemoglobin levels and the changes in LV mass and cavity volume index were not correlated in patients with LV dilation. Normalization of hemoglobin led to improvements in fatigue (P = 0.009), depression (P = 0.02), and relationships (P = 0.004). Normalization of hemoglobin does not lead to regression of established concentric LV hypertrophy or LV dilation. It may, however, prevent the development of LV dilation, and it leads to improved quality of life.
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              Cutaneous necrosis from calcific uremic arteriolopathy.

              Calcific uremic arteriolopathy (calciphylaxis) is an uncommon complication of chronic renal failure that is associated with high morbidity and mortality. We report 16 patients (13 female) who presented between 1985 and 1996. All patients developed painful livido reticularis that progressed to cutaneous necrosis and ulceration (11 cases on the proximal extremities and five cases on the distal extremities). Two patients with predominately distal leg disease survived; the cause of death in the other 14 patients was sepsis (six patients), withdrawal from dialysis (three), cardiac arrest (three), and gastrointestinal hemorrhage (two). Mesenteric ischemia from intestinal vascular calcification occurred in two cases. Clinical factors identified included the use of warfarin therapy in seven cases and significant weight loss (>10% body weight) in seven cases in the 6 months preceding the development of calcific uremic arteriolopathy. Skin pathology was studied in 12 cases, with all showing calcific panniculitis and small vessel calcification. Electron microscopic spectral analysis of the mineral content of the calcific lesions in the subcutaneous tissue showed only calcium and phosphorous. In two cases, substitution of low molecular weight heparin for warfarin therapy resulted in clinical improvement. Current theories of pathogenesis and treatment are reviewed. This study confirms the high morbidity and mortality of calcific uremic arteriolopathy producing ischemic tissue necrosis while drawing attention to significant weight loss and warfarin therapy as risk factors for the development of ischemic tissue necrosis. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy warrants further study.

                Author and article information

                Nephron Clin Pract
                Nephron Clinical Practice
                S. Karger AG
                October 2005
                15 June 2005
                : 101
                : 2
                : c87-c93
                Departments of aNephrology and bPathology, Rabin Medical Center (Hasharon), Petah-Tikva, Israel, affiliated with the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
                86346 Nephron Clin Pract 2005;101:c87–c93
                © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel

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