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Heart Risk Found in Kidney Disease Patience

Update Date: Aug 22, 2014 01:52 AM EDT

Calcium buildup in the coronary arteries may predict kidney disease patients' risk of heart disease than traditional risk factors used in general population, according to a new study. 

The findings could help safeguard the heart health of patients with kidney disease. 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Previously studies had concluded that conventional risk factors for predicting an individual's likelihood of developing heart disease aren't as useful in CKD patients as they are in general population. 

Researchers of this study were interested in looking to see if calcium measurements within blood vessel walls might be helpful. 

Researchers found that calcium build-up in the coronary artery walls was more useful for correctly determining CKD patients' risk of cardiovascular disease (particularly coronary heart disease and heart failure) than other measures of atherosclerosis such as thickness of the carotid artery walls and narrowing of the arteries in the legs.

"Our research is important since it assures the usefulness of coronary artery calcium for better cardiovascular disease prediction in persons with CKD, a population at high risk for cardiovascular disease but with potential caveats for the use of traditional risk factors," said lead researcher Kunihiro Matsushita, MD, PhD (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health).

The study appears in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. 

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