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      Cardiac Vascular Calcification and QT Interval in ESRD Patients: Is There a Link?

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          We will present our experience and our preliminary data about the correlation between cardiac calcification and QT interval (and QT dispersion) in uraemia. We studied 32 haemodialysis (HD) patients (age 69 ± 16 years, time on dialysis 32 ± 27 months) and 12 chronic kidney disease stage 4 (CKD-4) patients (age 66 ± 17 years, uraemia duration 38 ± 16 months). The patients were characterized by a good mineral control, as shown by serum phosphate levels (3.6 ± 1.3 mg/dl in CKD-4 and 4.3 ± 1.6 mg/dl in HD patients) and Ca × P product (46 ± 17 and 49 ± 16 mg<sup>2</sup>/dl<sup>2</sup>, respectively). The parathyroid hormone levels were higher in HD than CKD-4 patients (p < 0.0001). A TC score >400 was found to be highly prevalent in both groups. Significantly more HD patients (62.5%) showed cardiac calcification than CKD-4 patients (33%; p = 0.01). The patients were matched for TC scores higher or lower than 400. The two groups differed by gender (p < 0.05), age (p = 0.026), frequency of diabetes mellitus (p < 0.01), uraemia follow-up period (p < 0.001), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level (p = 0.009), Ca × P product (p = 0.002), parathyroid hormone level (p < 0.0001), and corrected QT dispersion (p < 0.0001). The QT interval was higher in HD and CKD-4 patients with higher TC scores (approximately 11%), but QT interval dispersion was significantly higher in patients with TC scores >400. QT dispersion showed a linear correlation with TC scores in both groups (r = 0.899 and p < 0.0001 and r = 0.901 and p < 0.0001). Male gender, age, time (months) of uraemia, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, albumin, calcium × phosphorus product, parathyroid hormone, and TC score are important determinants of QT dispersion. Our data show that it is possible to link dysrhythmias and cardiac calcification in uraemic patients.

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          Most cited references 28

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          QT dispersion: an indication of arrhythmia risk in patients with long QT intervals.

          Homogeneity of recovery time protects against arrhythmias whereas dispersion of recovery time is arrhythmogenic. A single surface electrocardiographic QT interval gives no information on recovery time dispersion but the difference between the maximum and minimum body surface QT interval may be relevant. This hypothesis was tested by measuring the dispersion of the corrected QT interval (QTc) in 10 patients with an arrhythmogenic long QT interval (Romano Ward and Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndromes or drug arrhythmogenicity) and in 14 patients without arrhythmias in whom the QT interval was prolonged by sotalol. QTc dispersion was significantly greater in the arrhythmogenic QT group than in the sotalol QT group. In patients with prolonged QT intervals, QT dispersion distinguished between those with ventricular arrhythmias and those without. This supports the hypothesis that QT dispersion reflects spatial differences in myocardial recovery time. QT dispersion may be useful in the assessment of both arrhythmia risk and the efficacy of antiarrhythmic drugs.
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            Cardiac calcification in adult hemodialysis patients

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              Vascular calcification and cardiovascular function in chronic kidney disease.

              Vascular calcification and arterial stiffening are independent predictors of all causes and cardiovascular mortality in chronic kidney disease (CKD). Few data are currently available comparing vascular calcification and its attendant functional cardiovascular consequences between CKD stage 4 patients and both peritoneal dialysis (PD) and haemodialysis (HD) (CKD stage 5) patients. We studied 134 subjects (60 HD, 28 PD and 46 CKD 4). Vascular calcification was quantified using multi-slice spiral CT scanning of a 5 cm standardized segment of superficial femoral artery. Pulse wave analysis and pulse wave velocity were assessed using applanation tonometry, to determine arterial compliance. Further digital arterial pulse wave analysis was used to measure systemic haemodynamic variables. All medications were recorded and biochemical variables were time averaged for the 6 months prior to entering the study. Forty-seven percent of CKD 4 patients demonstrated vascular calcification as compared with CKD 5 (71% PD and 73% HD, P = 0.02). HD patients had higher calcification scores (median 121) than either PD (median 21) or CKD 4 (median 0) (P = 0.008). There were no significant differences in baseline characteristics between the groups. Comparing tertiles of patients (based on calcification score), increased calcification score was associated with a reduction in arterial compliance (mean PWV 8.9 +/- 1.1, 11 +/- 3.6, 11.3 +/- 3.7 m/s, P = 0.005). The degree of calcification did not influence systolic blood pressure (BP), diastolic BP or heart rate. However, more heavily calcified patients demonstrated significantly higher mean pulse pressures (58 +/- 19, 74 +/- 22 and 72 +/- 25 mmHg, P = 0.001), lower total peripheral resistance (1.5 +/- 1, 1.3 +/- 0.8, 0.9 +/- 0.4, P = 0.01) and higher stroke volume (84 +/- 25, 95 +/- 29, 106 +/- 39 ml, P = 0.01). More heavily calcified patients were significantly older and predominantly male. This study has successfully utilized a novel technique for the quantification of calcification. We have demonstrated vascular calcification and associated cardiovascular dysfunction in CKD 4, PD and HD with significant differences between the groups. Thirty percent of individuals show no calcification, even those established on renal replacement therapy for a prolonged period of time. Further work is required to identify factors which promote progression of arterial calcification in those who are susceptible.

                Author and article information

                Blood Purif
                Blood Purification
                S. Karger AG
                December 2006
                21 December 2006
                : 24
                : 5-6
                : 451-459
                aUO di Nefrologia e Dialisi, bUO Diagnostica per Immagini, ed cUO Medicina, PO ‘A. Landolfi’, Solofra, Italia
                95362 Blood Purif 2006;24:451–459
                © 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Figures: 3, Tables: 3, References: 52, Pages: 9
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