The Australian Calciphylaxis Registry: reporting clinical features and outcomes of patients with calciphylaxis

Irene Ruderman, Nigel D Toussaint, Carmel M Hawley, Rathika Krishnasamy, Eugenia Pedagogos, Nicole Lioufas, Grahame J Elder
Nephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation 2019 December 19

BACKGROUND: Calciphylaxis is a rare disease, predominantly affecting patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and associated with significant morbidity and mortality due to progressive cutaneous calcification, necrotic ulceration and infection. Clinical registries have been established to better understand the risk factors, optimal treatments and disease outcomes of calciphylaxis.

METHODS: We established a prospective, Internet-based clinical registry for the online notification of calciphylaxis cases in Australia. Seven institutions participated, with data recorded on patient characteristics, biochemical parameters, treatments and disease outcomes.

RESULTS: Between 2014 and 2019, 47 cases of calciphylaxis were registered. The mean patient age was 66 ± 11 years and body mass index was 35 ± 9 kg/m2, with a higher proportion of females (51%). Eighty-seven percent of patients had end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), with 61% on hemodialysis or hemodiafiltration, with a median dialysis vintage of 4.8 [interquartile range (IQR) 1.7-7.4)] years. Five patients had CKD not requiring dialysis and two were kidney transplant recipients. Diabetes was present in 76% of patients and the cause of ESKD in 60%; 34% received vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) before diagnosis. The median parathyroid hormone level at diagnosis was 32 (IQR 14-50) pmol/L. The most common site of calciphylaxis was the lower limbs (63%), with 19% of patients having more than one area involved. Ten patients (22%) had a resolution of calciphylaxis and 25 died, with 50% mortality at a median of 1.6 (IQR 0.2-2.5) years from diagnosis.

CONCLUSIONS: The Australian Calciphylaxis Registry highlights risk factors for calciphylaxis, including diabetes, obesity and VKA use. Resolution of calciphylaxis is uncommon despite multimodal therapy and mortality from calciphylaxis in the first year following diagnosis remains high.

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