Are traditional risk factors valid for assessing cardiovascular risk in end-stage renal failure patients?

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Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the major cause of morbidity and mortality in end-stage renal failure (ESRF). Establishing whether traditional risk factors are valid predictors of CVD in ESRF is important in order to devise preventive and interventional strategies for the ESRF populations.


In this retrospective cohort study, a cohort of patients on dialysis were examined between September 2000 and February 2001. Only those without previous CVD events at baseline were included. For each individual, 5 year CVD risk was calculated using the New Zealand 5 year CVD risk prediction charts based on the Framingham Heart Study prognostic algorithm. The subsequent 5 year CVD outcome for each patient was determined and the observed rate of first CVD events was compared to the predicted risk. Relation of individual risk factors with the CVD outcome was also assessed.


Of the patients, 274 were without previous CVD events at baseline and 27% experienced CVD events during the subsequent 5 years. Observed CVD risk was more than twofold that of predicted risk although there was a linear correlation between the two. Among individual risk factors, increasing age, diabetes and smoking were significantly related to the incidence of the CVD events but, unlike in the general population, systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein ratio and body mass index were not significantly related to CVD events.


The very high incidence of CVD in ESRF patients suggest that non-traditional risk factors present in the uraemic state are independent risk factors for CVD in ESRF patients. Nevertheless, the application of traditional cardiovascular risk profiles does allow risk stratification of the ESRF population.

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