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1.  Association of Cumulatively Low or High Serum Calcium Levels with Mortality in Long-Term Hemodialysis Patients 
American Journal of Nephrology  2010;32(5):403-413.
The outcome-predictability of baseline and instantaneously changing serum calcium in hemodialysis patients has been examined. We investigated the mortality-predictability of time-averaged calcium values to reflect the ‘cumulative’ effect of calcium burden over time.
We employed a Cox model using up-to-5-year (7/2001–6/2006) time-averaged values to examine the mortality-predictability of cumulative serum calcium levels in 107,200 hemodialysis patients prior to the use of calcimimetics, but during the time where other calcium-lowering interventions, including lower dialysate calcium, were employed.
Both low (<9.0 mg/dl) and high (>10.0 mg/dl) calcium levels were associated with increased mortality (reference: 9.0 to <9.5 mg/dl). Whereas mortality of hypercalcemia was consistent, hypocalcemia mortality was most prominent with higher serum phosphorus (>3.5 mg/dl) and PTH levels (>150 pg/ml). Higher paricalcitol doses shifted the calcium range associated with the greatest survival to the right, i.e. from 9.0 to <9.5 to 9.5 to <10.0 mg/dl. African-Americans exhibited the highest death hazard ratio of hypocalcemia <8.5 mg/dl, being 1.35 (95% CI: 1.22–1.49). Both a rise and drop in serum calcium over 6 months were associated with increased mortality compared to the stable group.
Whereas in hemodialysis patients cumulatively high or low calcium levels are associated with higher death risk, subtle but meaningful interactions with phosphorus, PTH, paricalcitol dose and race exist.
PMCID: PMC2941140  PMID: 20814200
Hypocalcemia; Hypercalcemia; Phosphorus; Hyperparathyroidism; Racial disparities; Mineral and bone disorder; Chronic kidney disease; Paricalcitol
2.  Racial and Ethnic Differences in Mortality of Hemodialysis Patients: Role of Dietary and Nutritional Status and Inflammation 
American Journal of Nephrology  2011;33(2):157-167.
Racial/ethnic disparities prevail among hemodialysis patients. We hypothesized that significant differences exist between Black and non-Hispanic and Hispanic White hemodialysis patients in nutritional status, dietary intake and inflammation, and that they account for racial survival disparities.
In a 6-year (2001–2007) cohort of 799 hemodialysis patients, we compared diet and surrogates of nutritional-inflammatory status and their mortality-predictabilities between 279 Blacks and 520 Whites using matched and regression analyses and Cox with cubic splines.
In age-, gender- and diabetes-matched analyses, Blacks had higher lean body mass and serum prealbumin, creatinine and homocysteine levels than Whites. In case-mix-adjusted analyses, dietary intakes in Blacks versus Whites were higher in energy (+293 ± 119 cal/day) and fat (+18 ± 5 g/day), but lower in fiber (−2.9 ± 1.3 g/day) than Whites. In both races, higher serum albumin, prealbumin and creatinine were associated with greater survival, whereas CRP and IL-6, but not TNF-α, were associated with increased mortality. The highest (vs. lowest) quartile of IL-6 was associated with a 2.4-fold (95% CI: 1.3–3.8) and 4.1-fold (2.2–7.2) higher death risk in Blacks and Whites, respectively.
Significant racial disparities exist in dietary, nutritional and inflammatory measures, which may contribute to hemodialysis outcome disparities. Testing race-specific dietary and/or anti-inflammatory interventions is indicated.
PMCID: PMC3202917  PMID: 21293117
Black race; Hispanic ethnicity; African Americans; Non-Hispanic White; Nutritional status; Inflammatory markers; Dietary intake; Survival
3.  Association of Serum Total Iron-Binding Capacity and Its Changes Over Time with Nutritional and Clinical Outcomes in Hemodialysis Patients 
American Journal of Nephrology  2009;29(6):571-581.
Serum transferrin, estimated by total iron-binding capacity (TIBC), may be a marker of protein-energy wasting (PEW) in maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) patients. We hypothesized that low TIBC or its fall over time is associated with poor clinical outcomes. In 807 MHD patients in a prospective 5-year cohort, associations of TIBC and its changes over time with outcomes were examined after adjustment for case-mix and markers of iron stores and malnutrition-inflammation including serum interleukin-6, iron and ferritin. Patients with serum TIBC ≥250 mg/dl had higher body mass index, triceps and biceps skinfolds and mid-arm muscle circumference and higher serum levels of iron but lower ferritin and inflammatory markers. Some SF-36 quality of life (QoL) components were worse in the lowest and/or highest TIBC groups. Mortality was incrementally higher in lower TIBC levels (p-trend <0.001). Adjusted death hazard ratio was 1.75 (95% CI: 1.00–3.05, p = 0.05) for TIBC <150 compared to TIBC of 200–250 mg/dl. A fall in TIBC >20 mg/dl over 6 months was associated with a death hazard ratio of 1.57 (95% CI: 1.04–2.36, p = 0.03) compared to the stable TIBC group. Hence, low baseline serum TIBC is associated with iron deficiency, PEW, inflammation, poor QoL and mortality, and its decline over time is independently associated with increased death risk.
PMCID: PMC2818472  PMID: 19136818
Transferrin; Total iron-binding capacity; Chronic kidney disease; Hemodialysis; Protein-energy wasting

Results 1-3 (3)