What Are the Implications of Vascular Calcification for Renal and Other Patients?


Quick Answer

Vascular calcification is involved in a variety of disease processes, such as atherosclerosis, osteoporosis and chronic kidney disease, and leads to high morbidity and mortality rates. Renal patients affected by vascular calcification may experience wounds and infections that fail to heal and multi-organ failure, states the National Institutes of Health.

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Vascular calcification becomes problematic when it interferes with organ function, explains Healthgrades. Calcifications can harden and block blood vessels in organs such as the heart, brain and kidney. The heart may become less efficient at pumping when affected by calcifications, leading to an increased risk of heart attack and peripheral artery disease. Vascular calcification is also associated with osteoporosis and correlates with specific bone microstructural parameters and an increased risk of bone fracture. When vascular calcification and osteoporosis occur concurrently, a patient is more likely to experience chronic inflammation, hypovitaminosis D, hypovitaminosis K, and oxidative stress, according to the NIH.

Patients with chronic kidney disease can suffer with a syndrome of vascular calcification called calciphylaxis, explains the Mayo Clinic. Those with end-stage kidney failure are most likely to be affected. A renal patient with calciphylaxis may experience painful lumps in deep fatty tissues. The lumps typically appear in the thigh and stomach, and may have open sores that don?t heal. The wounds may be infected and ulcerated. A patient with this condition may also experience blood infections and multi-organ failure, which can cause death. Early detection and treatment of this condition is critical.

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