Ten dialysis-treated patients with hypercalcemia (11.5 ± 0.3 mg/dl, mean ± SE) due to renal osteodystrophy were compared with 30 control dialysis-treated patients who were not hypercalcemic (9.5 ±0.1 mg/dl). The hypercalcemic patients were more disabled than the control patients. Fifty percent of the hypercalcemic patients and 37 percent of the control patients had a mineralization defect (p >0.6). In the control group, intact parathyroid hormone level was significantly higher in patients with osteitis fibrosa than in those with osteomalacia (247 ± 39 pg/ml versus 60 ± 20 pg/ml, respectively, p <0.005) whereas in the hypercalcemic patients, parathyroid hormone measurements did not discriminate between these two types of bone disease. Osteomalacia was more severe and bone aluminum staining was stronger in the hypercalcemic patients than in the control patients (2.02 ± 0.47 versus 0.35 ± 0.11 mm/mm2 tissue area, p <0.001). The mean serum calcium level fell from 11.2 ± 0.2 mg/dl to 10.5 ± 0.3 mg/dl (p <0.01) in eight hypercalcemic patients treated with 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. It is concluded that hypercalcemia in patients undergoing dialysis is associated with an increase in bone aluminum level, and with more severe osteomalacia. Intact parathyroid hormone levels are useful for predicting bone histomorphometric parameters but only when hypercalcemia is not present. The drug, 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, was effective in lowering the serum calcium level.
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