A new test could identify individuals who are likely to develop potentially deadly calcium deposits in their tissues and blood vessels, a precursor to chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Heart disease is the number one killer of patients with CKD and vascular calcification is thought to play a major role in it. Such patients often have abnormally high blood calcium levels due to their compromised kidney function and the effects of commonly used medications.
Currently, physicians have no tools to determine an individual’s calcification risk, the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology reports.
Andreas Pasch, from the University Hospital and University of Bern, Inselspital, Switzerland, and colleagues who developed the pioneering new assay, have found that both the blood of mice deficient in a protein that inhibits calcification and the blood of CKD patients on dialysis had a reduced ability to inhibit calcification. Blood from healthy volunteers did not, according to a Bern statement.
“Our test may identify patients at risk for the development of calcification, may become an important tool for identifying and testing calcification inhibitors, and may provide the basis for treatment monitoring in patients who receive such inhibitors,” said Pasch, who co-authored the study with Stefan Farese, Steffen Graber, Johanna Wald, Walter Richtering, Jurgen Floege and Willi Jahnen-Dechent.