Treating coronary heart disease in kidney failure patients

November 29, 2012

HighlightsHeart disease is the leading cause of death in patients with kidney failure. Coronary heart disease affects 30% to 60% of kidney failure patients.

Washington, DC (November 29, 2012) -- Among the two available procedures for opening blocked arteries surrounding the heart, one appears to be safer than the other for dialysis patients, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). The findings may help lead to better care for kidney failure patients with coronary heart disease.

While 30% to 60% of kidney failure patients on dialysis have blocked arteries surrounding the heart, there is little information regarding how to optimally fix the life-threatening problem in these individuals. That's because dialysis patients have been excluded from clinical trials on the two available procedures: open heart surgery (coronary artery bypass grafting, or CABG) and angioplasty (percutaneous coronary intervention, or PCI).

Tara Chang, MD, Wolfgang Winkelmayer, MD, ScD (Stanford University School of Medicine) and their colleagues examined a database of all patients on dialysis in the United States with primary Medicare coverage to determine which is the best revascularization strategy: CABG or PCI. They identified nearly 22,000 dialysis patients who underwent CABG or PCI between 1997 and 2009.

Among the major findings:"It is important to note that because our study was observational, our results cannot prove that CABG is better; only a randomized trial can do that," said Dr. Chang. "However, our study does offer guidance to patients and providers who must make these tough decisions and suggests that in carefully selected patients on dialysis with multivessel coronary heart disease, CABG may be preferred rather than PCI." Because organizing a randomized trial of CABG and PCI in patients on dialysis would be quite difficult, observational studies such as this one may be the best way to compare the two strategies.
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Study co-authors include David Shilane, PhD, Dhruv Kazi, MD, Maria Montez-Rath, PhD, and Mark Hlatky, MD.

Disclosures: The authors reported no financial disclosures.

The article, entitled "Multivessel Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting Versus Percutaneous Coronary Intervention in ESRD," will appear online at http://jasn.asnjournals.org/ on November 29, 2012.

The content of this article does not reflect the views or opinions of The American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s). ASN does not offer medical advice. All content in ASN publications is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions, or adverse effects. This content should not be used during a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about a medical condition, or before taking any drug, changing your diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment. Do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of information accessed through ASN. Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies.

Founded in 1966, and with more than 13,500 members, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) leads the fight against kidney disease by educating health professionals, sharing new knowledge, advancing research, and advocating the highest quality care for patients.

American Society of Nephrology

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