Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) have a higher burden of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease compared with age- and gender-matched individuals with normal renal function. Cardiovascular calcification (CVC), a marker of atherosclerosis, is also more prevalent in these patients and is associated with serious clinical consequences. The pathogenesis of CVC is complex and includes factors that promote calcification and others that inhibit calcification. Thus, multiple therapeutic interventions should be used simultaneously to reduce the burden of calcification in patients with CKD. Thus far, interventional attempts have focused on curtailing the effects of factors that promote calcification such as management of known traditional factors for atherosclerotic coronary artery disease and on adopting specific approaches to normalize mineral metabolism, deliver adequate dialysis, and control serum cholesterol level. By contrast, interventions that may bolster the effects of inhibitors of calcification have not yet been studied well but are beginning to attract attention. Ideally, the goal of interventions is not only to slow or halt progression of calcification but also to reverse pre-existing calcification. Whether this goal is achievable is not currently known. This review examines the potential of various therapeutic interventions in reducing the CVC burden in patients with CKD. Moreover, the review is intended to stimulate more research in this area because the efficacy of these interventions has not been examined in controlled clinical trials.
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