Cardiac Findings at Necropsy in Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease Maintained on Chronic Hemodialysis

Medicine, 05/04/2012

The authors found that Chronic Kidney Disease treated with hemodialysis is a major producer of cardiac calcific deposits, some of which can be massive. Only a minority of the calcific deposits, however, appeared to lead to cardiac dysfunction or myocardial ischemia during life.

Methods

  • The authors studied at necropsy 120 patients who had been treated with hemodialysis for more than 1 year (mean, 5.25 ± 4.33 yr).
  • Their ages ranged from 24 to 81 years (mean, 53 yr); 91 (76%) were men.

Results

  • Calcific deposits were present in the heart at necropsy in 74 (62%) patients: in the epicardial coronary arteries in all 74 (62%); in the mitral annular region in 52 (42%) patients, and in the aortic valve cusps in 42 (35%) patients.
  • The frequency and quantity of the cardiac calcific deposits were significantly greater in the older compared with the younger patients, and in those with longer durations of hemodialysis compared with those with shorter durations.
  • Despite the calcific deposits, which were sometimes huge, only 47 (39%) patients had 1 or more coronary arteries narrowed more than 75% in cross–sectional area by atherosclerotic plaques, apparently no patient had clinical evidence of mitral stenosis, and 9 patients had clinical evidence of aortic valve stenosis.

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