January 5, 2012

Meds’ benefits differ in dialysis patients

About half of kidney patients will die from heart disease within five years of starting dialysis, yet patients with kidney failure are rarely included in heart disease research. Jorge Gamboa, M.D., T. Alp Ikizler, M.D., and Nancy Brown, M.D., completed a small study that suggests a more personalized approach to selecting medication for heart disease prevention should be explored as a way to protect kidney failure patients from death from heart disease.


The article in the Journal of the American Society Nephrology compared angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). Both are prescribed to treat hypertension and reduce the risk of death, but Gamboa and his colleagues found each could have different effects on dialysis patients’ heart health. ARBs were found to be more effective at fighting inflammation while ACE inhibitors were better at preventing blood vessel damage.

This research was supported by grants from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Center for Research Resources, and the National Institute for General Medical Sciences.