Pathophysiologic and treatment strategies for cardiovascular disease in end-stage renal disease and kidney transplantations

Mythili Ghanta, Mark Kozicky, Belinda Jim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The inextricable link between the heart and the kidneys predestines that significant cardiovascular disease ensues in the face of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). As a point of fact, the leading cause of mortality of patients on dialysis is still from cardiovascular etiologies, albeit differing in particular types of disease from the general population. For example, sudden cardiac death outnumbers coronary artery disease in patients with ESRD, which is the reverse for the general population. In this review, we will focus on the pathophysiology and treatment options of important traditional and nontraditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease in ESRD patients such as hypertension, anemia, vascular calcification, hyperparathyroidism, uremia, and oxidative stress. The evidence of erythropoietin-stimulating agents, phosphate binders, calcimimetics, and dialysis modalities will be presented. We will then discuss how these risk factors may be changed and perhaps exacerbated after renal transplantation. This is largely due to the immunosuppressive agents that are both crucial yet potentially detrimental in the posttransplant state. Calcineurin inhibitors, corticosteroids, and mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors, the mainstay of transplant immunosuppression, are all known to increase the risks of developing new onset diabetes as well as the metabolic syndrome. Thus, we need to carefully negotiate between patients' cardiovascular profile and their risks of rejection. Finally, we end by considering strategies by which we may minimize cardiovascular disease in the transplant population, as this modality still confers the highest chance of survival in patients with ESRD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
JournalCardiology in Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 9 2015


  • cardiovascular disease
  • end-stage renal disease
  • kidney transplantation
  • pathophysiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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