21 December 2006
Background: Cholesterol crystal embolism syndrome (CCE) is an increasing end-stage renal disease cause. Few cases have been described on dialysis, despite the high prevalence of the predisposing factors. Methods: The diagnostic criteria of the present study were: skin lesions, myalgia, fatigue, fever and acute inflammatory serologic signs, in the presence of severe vasculopathy. The precipitating factors were: anticoagulation, endovascular intervention and ulcerated atherosclerotic plaque. Results: Between October 2003 and September 2005, CCE was diagnosed in 6 dialysis patients (of 200–210 on chronic treatment): 5 males, 1 female, median age 59.5 years (47–70) and end-stage renal disease follow-up 11.5 years (3–25). All had severe vasculopathy, 5 cardiopathy, and 4 were failed graft recipients. The treatment included: peritoneal dialysis, daily dialysis, ‘conventional’ hemodialysis (2 cases) and hemodiafiltration. The diagnosis was based on the clinical-laboratory picture in 1 patient. In the 5 others clues were present (dicumarol therapy, angioplasty, femoral artery thrombosis, CCE predialysis and ulcerated aortic plaque). The therapeutic approach consisted of corticosteroids (5 cases), statins (4 cases) and prostaglandin analogues (4 cases). Conclusion: The differential diagnosis of CCE should also be considered in dialysis patients (necrotic lesions, limb pain and vasculitis-like signs).