Abnormal blood calcium levels deadly for kidney disease patients

Jan 07, 2010

Abnormally high or low blood calcium levels are linked to an increased chance of premature death in non-dialysis kidney disease patients, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN). The findings indicate the potential importance of finding drugs or other treatments that maintain normal blood calcium levels in non-dialysis patients.

Patients with (CKD) often have abnormally high or low blood calcium levels due to their compromised and the effects of commonly used medications. While abnormal calcium levels have been linked to higher rates in dialysis patients, their effects in patients with earlier stages of CKD are less clear.

To investigate the issue, Csaba Kovesdy, MD (Salem VA Medical Center), and his colleagues examined the death rates associated with various blood calcium levels in 1,243 male US veterans with moderate-to-advanced CKD not requiring dialysis therapy. During the study, abnormally high calcium levels were linked to higher death rates among patients particularly when high calcium levels were present for a prolonged period of time. Specifically, compared with patients with normal blood calcium levels, patients with abnormally high levels had a 31% increased risk of dying during the study. Low calcium levels were also linked to higher death rates, but after much shorter periods of exposure to such levels. These patients had a 21% increased risk of dying.

The authors speculate that high calcium levels may be involved in processes that take a longer time to cause harm, such as the calcification of blood vessels or soft tissues, while low calcium levels may cause short-term deleterious effects such as heart rhythm abnormalities. The authors also noted that while their observations suggest that maintaining normal blood calcium levels is beneficial for non-dialysis CKD patients, prospective studies are needed to determine the target range for blood calcium and how such a target should be achieved.

Explore further: Sierra Leone faces criticism over Ebola shutdown

More information: The article, entitled "Outcomes Associated with Serum Calcium Level in Men with Non-Dialysis Dependent Chronic Kidney Disease," will appear online on January 7, 2009, doi:10.2215/CJN.06040809

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Low thyroid function common in chronic kidney disease

Jun 11, 2008

Many patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) have mild reductions in thyroid function, or subclinical hypothyroidism—a condition that becomes more common as kidney function declines, according to a study in the September ...

Vitamin D linked to reduced mortality rate in CKD

May 07, 2008

For patients with moderate to severe chronic kidney disease (CKD), treatment with activated vitamin D may reduce the risk of death by approximately one-fourth, suggests a study in the August Journal of the American Society of ...

Recommended for you

Sierra Leone faces criticism over Ebola shutdown

14 hours ago

Sierra Leone began the second day of a 72-hour nationwide shutdown aimed at containing the spread of the deadly Ebola virus on Saturday amid criticism that the action was a poorly planned publicity stunt.

Presence of peers ups health workers' hand hygiene

Sep 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—The presence of other health care workers improves hand hygiene adherence, according to a study published in the October issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

Sierra Leone streets deserted as shutdown begins

Sep 19, 2014

Sierra Leone's normally chaotic capital resembled a ghost town on Friday as residents were confined to their homes for the start of a three-day lockdown aimed at halting the deadly Ebola epidemic.

Sierra Leone launches controversial Ebola shutdown

Sep 19, 2014

Sierra Leone on Friday launched a controversial three-day shutdown to contain the deadly spread of the Ebola virus, as the UN Security Council declared the deadly outbreak a threat to world peace.

User comments : 0