The existence of adynamic bone disease (ABD) as most prevalent form of renal osteodystrophy in recent years and its reduced ability to handle an exogenous calcium load has implied a higher risk for vascular and soft-tissue calcifications. The effect of low dialysate calcium (LCD) on parathyroid hormone (PTH) secretion in ABD patients has not yet sufficiently been clarified. This randomized, prospective study aimed to compare the effects of LCD and high calcium dialysate (HCD) on the evolution of bone and mineral parameters related to ABD in dialysis patients.
52 out of 60 patients with predialysis intact PTH<100 pg/ml completed this study and were equally distributed over LCD (1.25 mmol/l) or HCD (1.75 mmol/l) treatment. The duration of the study was 6 months and the only peroral phosphate binder administered was calcium carbonate. Total and ionised calcium were measured monthly in serum before and after dialysis while serum parameters relevant to bone were measured at the enrollment and at 3-month intervals.
There were no differences in predialysis mean phosphate or calcium x phosphorus product (Ca x P). The most common side effects of both treatments were comparable. Hypotension occurred in 16% and 17% and cramps in 6% and 8% of the dialysis sessions, in the HCD and LCD group, respectively. The groups did not differ in the mean tCa before dialysis, but this parameter was significantly higher in the HCD group vs. LCD at the end of dialysis (2.59+/-0.18 vs. 2.44+/-0.19 mmol/l; p<0.01). The patients of the HCD group also had a significantly higher mean iCa both before (1.08+/-0.05 vs. 1.04+/-0.06 mmol/l; p=0.02) and at the end of dialysis (1.18+/-0.04 vs. 1.48+/-0.04 mmol/l; p<0.01). There were no differences within the LCD group between baseline and end of dialysis treatment values of tCa and iCa. However, the mean tCa and iCa were markedly increased at the end of dialysis in the HDC group [2.40+/-0.21 vs. 2.59+/-0.18 mmol/l (p<0.01); 1.08+/-0.05 vs. 1.18+/-0.04 mmol/l (p<0.01)]. Mean serum levels of iPTH and total alkaline phosphatase in the LCD group were increased at 3 months and at the end of the study compared with the baseline levels [(38.6+/-22.9 vs. 63.3+/-46.0 vs. 78.6+/-44.7 pg/ml); (59.5+/-18.7 vs. 75.9+/-26.7 vs. 84.0+/-35.4 U/l)], respectively, and bone alkaline phosphatase increased also only after 6 months of treatment (23.4+/-7.3 U/l vs. 35.6+/-22.3). The bone markers in the HCD group did not change. At the end of the study all bone parameters in the LCD group were significantly higher than in the HCD group.
There was an evolution towards parameters reflecting higher bone turnover in patients treated with dialysate calcium of 1.25 mmol/l, probably by prevention of a positive calcium balance and enabling sustained stimulation of PTH secretion. Hence, LCD might be considered a valuable therapeutic option for ABD patients.