Coronary Artery Calcification Seen Through Chest Radiography

Precil D. M. M. Neves, Ramaiane A. Bridi, Rosilene M. Elias, Rosa M. A. Moyses


Patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) on dialysis have poor overall survival, and cardiovascular (CV) is the main cause of mortality among these patients. Coronary calcification is an independent predictor of mortality and CV events in dialysis patients and can be accessed by using a computerized tomography scanning. The high cost of this procedure, however, precludes routine implementation of this method for the purposes of risk stratification. Aortic arch calcification has been associated with CV mortality in the general population. Also, vascular calcification beyond the thoracic aorta has been shown to be associated with mortality in ESRD patients. We presented here a case of a young patient with ESRD in which the coronary calcification could be cleared seen through simple chest radiography. This is a 35-year-old man with a history of ESRD secondary to pyelonephritis, who was receiving conventional hemodialysis thrice a week for the last 5 years. He was submitted to chest radiography as part of routine annual cardiac screening. His blood pressure was within the target limits, although much higher in lower limbs, generating a high ankle brachial index of 1.3. He also had secondary hyperparathyroidism. His physical examination was unremarkable, except for the presence of non-functioning arteriovenous fistulas in both arms and a central venous catheter. The last routine blood test showed calcium 9.0 mg/dL, phosphate 5.7 mg/dL, potassium 4.7 mEq/L, creatinine 7.4 mg/dL, alkaline phosphatase 175 U/L, and parathyroid hormone 1,745 pg/mL. Surprisingly, the chest radiography revealed a calcified aortic valve and a calcified coronary artery. This patient had sudden cardiac death few months after this radiography had been taken. We present here a case of coronary calcification that can be seen through simple chest radiography. Such images are not usually seen, although the risk of vascular calcification is high in this population, and is closely related to CV risk. Chest radiographs, nearly universally available provide a method for assessing coronary artery calcification. Such a finding is intriguing and should alert nephrologists and cardiologists for the high risk of CV death in these patients.

J Clin Med Res. 2015;7(9):724-725


End-stage renal disease; Coronary artery calcification; Hemodialysis; Chest radiography

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