Vascular calcification and arterial stiffness in chronic kidney disease: implications and management

Nigel David Toussaint, Peter Kerr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Cardiovascular (CV) disease is the commonest cause of mortality in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Vascular calcification (VC), induced by calcium and phosphate excess and uraemia, is a major risk factor and is independently associated with CV events and death. Local and systemic calcium-regulatory proteins as well as inhibitory extracellular factors are involved in the pathogenesis of VC. In CKD the balance becomes dysregulated leading to differentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells into phenotypically distinct osteoblast-like cells with subsequent ossification of the arterial wall. Associated with imbalances in mineral metabolism, VC has intimate interactions with bone mineralization and enhanced bone resorption. Arterial stiffness represents the functional disturbance of VC, with reduced compliance of large arteries, and predominantly results from greater medial calcification. As with VC, arterial stiffness is an independent predictor of CV mortality and patients with CKD have greater arterial stiffness than the general population resulting in the principal consequences of left ventricular hypertrophy and altered coronary perfusion. Both VC and arterial stiffness can be measured through non-invasive techniques involving computed tomography, ultrasound, echocardiography, and pulse wave velocity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)500 - 509
Number of pages10
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Cite this