Prognostic significance of arterial stiffness measurements in end-stage renal disease patients

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Abstract

Purpose of review

As epidemiological and clinical studies have shown that damage of large arteries is a major contributory factor to the high cardiovascular morbidity of patients with end-stage renal disease, such a population is particularly appropriate for analysis the impact of arterial stiffness on cardiovascular risk assessment and reduction strategies.

Recent findings

Aortic pulse wave velocity, a marker of aortic stiffness, has been shown to be a strong independent predictor of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality in patients with end-stage renal disease on hemodialysis. Local arterial stiffness assessment, namely carotid distensibility was also shown to predict cardiovascular risk, both in end-stage renal disease patients and in renal transplant recipients. Furthermore, it was shown in a therapeutic trial that the lack of aortic pulse wave velocity attenuation, despite significant drug-induced reduction in mean blood pressure, was a significant predictor of cardiovascular death in subjects with end-stage renal disease. These results support the hypothesis that measurement of aortic pulse wave velocity could help, not only in risk assessment strategies, but also in risk reduction strategies by monitoring arterial stiffness under different pharmacological regimens. The drug-related reduction of aortic pulse wave velocity could then give prognostic information, in addition to blood pressure reduction.

Summary

Aortic stiffness measurements could serve as an important tool in identifying end-stage renal disease patients at higher risk of cardiovascular disease. The ability to identify these patients would lead to better risk stratification and earlier and more cost-effective preventive therapy.

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