Haemodialysis patients (HD) have been characterized by a high incidence and prevalence of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Based on the traditional cardiovascular risk factors in this population, we cannot explain this high incidence and prevalence. One of the mechanisms contributing to cardiovascular risk in HD patients may be to uraemic toxins. Cardiovascular risk factors and uraemic toxins themselves may cause endothelial dysfunction, which may play a pivotal role in the development and progression of atherosclerosis in this population. We hypothesized that elimination of uraemic toxins in response to renal transplantation (RTx) can improve endothelial function as assessed by flow-mediated dilatation of brachial artery in haemodialysis (HD) patients.
Endothelial function measured by flow-mediated dilatation of the brachial artery (FMD) and glyceryltrinitrate-induced dilatation of the brachial artery (NMD) were assessed twice, during haemodialysis treatment and after RTx in 30 chronic haemodialysis patients. All patients were characterized by absence of known atherosclerotic disease and traditional cardiovascular risk factors. We also studied age- and gender-matched 20 normotensive healthy controls.
FMD values significantly improved after RTx (6.69+/-3.1% vs 10.50+/-3.0%, P<0.001) in HD patients. FMD of patients both during haemodialysis and after RTx was lower than in healthy controls (6.69+/-3.1%, 10.50+/-3.0% vs 14.02+/-2.3%, P<0.001 and P<0.01, respectively). There was no change in NMD values after RTx in HD patients (16.27+/-1.9% vs 16.30+/-1.8%, P>0.05). Also, NMD values in all patients were similar to healthy control values.
There is an improvement of endothelial function as assessed by FMD of the brachial artery after RTx in HD patients. This may be attributed to the elimination of uraemic toxins by successful RTx.