Hyperphosphatemia is invariably present among patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and is becoming an increasingly important clinical entity. Despite concerted efforts by patients, dietitians, and nephrologists to control serum phosphorus, a recent study by Block et al found that more than 60% of patients on hemodialysis in the United States have serum phosphorus levels above the recommended goal of 5.5 mg/dL. Historically, nephrologists have been concerned about the central role of elevated serum phosphorus in the pathogenesis of secondary hyperparathyroidism and extraosseous calcification. However, the consequences of untreated hyperphosphatemia have assumed more importance in the last few years, largely due to recent clinical studies that revealed a more sinister role of elevated serum phosphorus in increasing the mortality risk among patients with ESRD. Hemodialysis patients with serum phosphorus greater than 6.5 mg/dL were reported to have a 27% higher mortality risk than patients with serum phosphorus between 2.4 and 6.5 mg/dL. The pathophysiologic mechanisms by which persistent hyperphosphatemia enhances the mortality risk in dialysis patients are not yet completely understood. However, given that inadequate control of serum phosphorus contributes to elevated calcium-phosphorus product (Ca x P), untreated hyperphosphatemia may play a key role in cardiovascular calcification. In response to these findings, the National Kidney Foundation Kidney Disease Outcome Quality Initiative (K/DOQI) Clinical Practice Guidelines for Bone Metabolism and Disease in Chronic Kidney Disease have recently recommended more stringent levels for controlling serum phosphorus and Ca x P product in order to improve patients' quality of life and longevity.
- Secondary hyperparathyroidism
- Vascular calcification
ASJC Scopus subject areas