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Bone health and vascular calcification relationships in chronic kidney disease


Abnormal bone in chronic kidney disease (CKD) may adversely affect vascular calcification via disordered calcium and phosphate metabolism. In this context, bone health should be viewed as a prerequisite for the successful prevention/treatment of vascular calcification (VC) along with controlled parathyroid hormone (PTH) secretion, the use of calcium-based phosphate binders and vitamin D therapy. In CKD patients, VC occurs more frequently and progresses more rapidly than in the general population, and is associated with increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) morbidity and mortality. A number of therapies aimed at reducing PTH concentration are associated with an increase of calcaemia and Ca × P product, e.g. calcium-containing phosphate binders or active vitamin D. The introduction of calcium-free phosphate binders has reduced calcium load, attenuating VC and improving trabecular bone content. In addition, a major breakthrough has been achieved through the use of calcimimetics, as first agents which lower PTH without increasing the concentrations of serum calcium and phosphate. Nowadays, it is becoming evident that even early stage CKD is recognised as an independent CVD risk factor. Moreover, the excess of CVD among dialysis patients cannot be explained entirely on the basis of abnormal mineral and bone metabolism. Hence, much controversy has surrounded the cost-effectiveness of treatment with the new phosphate-binding drugs as well as new vitamin D analogs and calcimimetics. Thus, it seems prudent and reasonable that maintaining bone health and mineral homeostasis should rely on some modifications of standard phosphate binding and calcitriol therapy. Hypophosphataemia and hypercalcaemia in adynamic bone disease (ABD) might be treated by reducing the number of calcium carbonate/acetate tablets in order to increase serum phosphate and decrease serum calcium, which, in turn, might positively stimulate PTH secretion. The same rationale is assumed for the use of a low calcium dialysate. On the other hand, secondary hyperparathyroidism with hyperphosphataemia and hypocalcaemia should be treated with a substantial number of calcium carbonate/acetate tablets in combination with calcitriol and low calcium dialysate in order to decrease serum phosphate and maintain the Ca × P product within K/DOQI guidelines (<4.4 mmol  l−1). Finally, it becomes apparent that prevention, with judicious use of calcium-based binders, vitamin D and a low calcium dialysate without adverse effects on Ca × P or oversuppression of PTH, provides the best management of VC and mineral and bone disorder in CKD patients.

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Correspondence to Goce B. Spasovski.

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Spasovski, G.B. Bone health and vascular calcification relationships in chronic kidney disease. Int Urol Nephrol 39, 1209–1216 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11255-007-9276-9

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  • Adynamic bone disease
  • Calcium phosphate binder
  • Low dialysate calcium concentration
  • Secondary hyperparathyroidism
  • Vascular calcification