Comparative Study
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Efficacy of low-density lipoprotein apheresis combined with corticosteroids for cholesterol crystal embolism.

BACKGROUND: Corticosteroids have been widely used in patients with cholesterol crystal embolism (CCE) and low-density lipoprotein apheresis (LDL-A) was reported to reduce the risk of end-stage renal disease in patients with CCE. This study was designed to evaluate the renoprotective effects of LDL-A in combination with corticosteroids in patients with CCE.

METHODS: Thirty-five patients with CCE who, between 2008 and 2013, had shown renal deterioration after vascular interventions were retrospectively evaluated. All patients received corticosteroids; of these, 24 also received LDL-A and 11 did not, designated LDL-A and control groups, respectively. Differences in eGFR (ΔeGFR), 3 months and 1 year after CCE diagnosis, were compared in the two groups.

RESULTS: The median estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) in all patients was 38.9 [interquartile range (IQR) 31.9-49.4] ml/min/1.73 m2 at baseline (before vascular intervention). At diagnosis, it was 14.4 (IQR 11.3-21.8) ml/min/1.73 m2 . The initial corticosteroid dose was 0.34 ± 0.10 mg/kg/day. The mean number of LDL-A treatment sessions in the LDL-A group was 4.3 ± 1.8. eGFR was increased significantly after LDL-A treatments, from 15.0 (IQR 12.3-20.1) to 19.6 (IQR 14.3-23.6) ml/min/1.73 m2 (P < 0.05). ΔeGFR tended to be higher in the LDL-A than in the control group at 3 months [median 6.5 (IQR 5.1-9.3) vs. 2.6 (IQR -0.6 to 6.3) ml/min/1.73 m2 , P = 0.095] and was significantly higher at 1 year [median 7.5 (IQR 5.4-8.7) vs. 2.2 (IQR -3.8 to 5.1) ml/min/1.73 m2 , P = 0.019].

CONCLUSIONS: LDL-A plus corticosteroids may restore deteriorated renal function better than corticosteroids alone in patients with CCE.

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