Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with renal failure. Patients with chronic kidney disease have significant CVD, and carry a high cardiovascular burden by the time they commence renal replacement therapy (RRT). The severity of CVD that has been observed in dialysis patients lead to a growing body of research examining the pathogenesis and progression of CVD during the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) (ie, predialysis phase). Multiple factors are involved in the development of CVD in CKD. More importantly, critical and key factors seem to develop early in the course of CKD, and result in preventable worsening of CVD in this patient population. Anemia is common in patients with CKD, and has been shown to have an independent role in the genesis of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) and subsequent CVD. Unfortunately, it is underdiagnosed and undertreated in patients with CKD. Early intervention, and better correction of anemia, seems to gain a great momentum in the prevention and management of CVD in CKD. Hypertension is another risk factor that has been targeted by the National Kidney Foundation Task Force on CVD in chronic kidney disease. This article reviews the different factors involved in the pathogenesis of CVD in CKD and the evidence supporting early and aggressive intervention.
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