Evaluation and treatment of coronary artery disease in patients with end-stage renal disease

Peter A McCullough
Kidney International. Supplement 2005, (95): S51-8
Evaluation and treatment of coronary artery disease in patients with end-stage renal disease. Patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) are at increased risk of death from coronary artery disease (CAD). The metabolic milieu that results from renal dysfunction appears to accelerate the atherosclerotic process by decades in patients with ESRD. The extremely high prevalence of atherosclerosis in patients with ESRD mandates risk factor identification and treatment. Traditionally, CAD in this patient population has been treated conservatively. Analysis of large databases has highlighted the scope and complexity of this problem; nonetheless, there is a paucity of randomized, controlled trials of CAD in patients with ESRD. In this paper the following issues related to evaluation and treatment of patients with chronic kidney disease are addressed: (1) optimal CAD risk management; (2) evaluation for CAD in patients with ESRD, including the identification of coronary calcification; (3) treatment of CAD with medical therapy and revascularization; (4) relative merits of percutaneous coronary intervention versus bypass surgery. In general, an aggressive approach to medical management of CAD is warranted, even in the setting of subclinical CAD. A low threshold for diagnostic testing should be employed in patients with ESRD. When significant CAD is identified, ESRD patients appear to benefit more from revascularization compared to conservative medical management. Thus, if clinically reasonable, patients with ESRD and CAD should be managed aggressively to improve survival and reduce the incidence of future cardiac events.

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