Objective: Vascular calcification contributes to cardiovascular disease on dialysis patients. Arterial mineral content is modified but not well defined. We aim to define what is the concentration of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus in the epigastric artery of adult dialysis patients undergoing renal transplantation.
Methods: All renal allograft recipients who underwent surgery at our centre between May 2003 and December 2005 and consented to be taken small samples of epigastric artery were included in our cross-sectional study. Histological, radiological and spectrometric methods were used to measure vascular calcification, deposits and concentrations of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium in epigastric artery, which were correlated with clinical and biochemical characteristics. Mineral vascular content was compared with corresponding samples from cadaveric renal donors free from renal disease (control group).
Results: Calcium and magnesium concentrations in epigastric artery were much higher in recipients (n = 100) than in donors (n = 30). Histologically confirmed calcifications were more frequent in recipients. Calcium and magnesium content in epigastric artery were correlated directly with recipient age, pre-transplant serum P and Ca × P product. A high content of calcium and magnesium in this artery was observed in recipients with media and intimal calcification. Multivariate logistic regression showed that dialysis vintage > 3.5 years and calcium concentration in epigastric artery ≥ 4500 mg/kg wet weight were independent predictors of histological calcification.
Conclusion: Excess mineral deposition is observed in the epigastric artery of dialysis patients, where the recipient’s age, serum P, Ca × P product and time on dialysis play a decisive role.