Survival, Risk Factors, and Effect of Treatment in 101 Patients With Calciphylaxis

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To report on the survival and the associations of treatments upon survival of patients with calciphylaxis seen at a single center.

Patients and Methods:

Using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision diagnosis code of 275.49 and the keyword “calciphylaxis” in the dismissal narrative, we retrospectively identified 101 patients with calciphylaxis seen at our institution between January 1, 1999, through September 20, 2014, using a predefined, consensus-developed classification scheme.


The average age of patients was 60 years: 81 (80.2%) were women; 68 (68.0%) were obese; 19 (18.8%) had stage 0 to 2 chronic kidney disease (CKD), 19 (18.9%) had stage 3 or 4 CKD; 63 (62.4%) had stage 5 or 5D (dialysis) CKD. Seventy-five patients died during follow-up. Six-month survival was 57%. Lack of surgical debridement was associated with insignificantly lower 6-month survival (hazard ratio [HR]=1.99; 95% CI, 0.96-4.15; P=.07) and significantly poorer survival for the entire duration of follow-up (HR=1.98; 95% CI, 1.15-3.41; P=.01), which was most pronounced in stage 5 or 5D CKD (HR=1.91; 95% CI, 1.03-3.56; P=.04). Among patients with stage 5/5D CKD, subtotal parathyroidectomy (performed only in patients with hyperparathyroidism) was associated with better 6-month (HR=0.12; 95% CI, 0.02-0.90; P=.04) and overall survival (HR= 0.37; 95% CI, 0.15-0.87; P=.02).


Calciphylaxis is associated with a high mortality rate. Significantly effective treatments included surgical debridement and subtotal parathyroidectomy in patients with stage 5/5D CKD with hyperparathyroidism. Treatments with tissue-plasminogen activator, sodium thiosulfate, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy were not associated with higher mortality.

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