Small uncontrolled studies of dialysis-dependent CKD (chronic kidney disease) patients have demonstrated abnormalities of cardiovascular autonomic control and vascular compliance, which may contribute to adverse cardiovascular morbidity in this population. However, there is little information utilizing newer non-invasive techniques in pre-dialysis patients with increasing degrees of uraemia. In the present study, 55 non-dialysis-dependent non-diabetic CKD patients with mean GFR (glomerular filtration rate) of 27 ml·min−1·m−2 were studied. All patients underwent a 10-min period of electrocardiographic and non-invasive blood pressure monitoring. Cardiac BRS (baroreceptor sensitivity) was calculated from the combined α-index. PWV (pulse wave velocity) measurement and determination of arterial wave reflexion by applanation tonometry was performed in all patients. Mean (S.D.) cardiac BRS was 10.8 (7.1) ms/mmHg and mean (S.D.) PWV was 8.6 (1.7) m/s. Reduced GFR was correlated with increased PWV and decreased cardiac BRS. On logistic regression analysis with adjustment for clinical significant risk factors, severely impaired renal function (assessed by GFR <15 ml·min−1·m−2) was associated with increased large artery stiffness [odds ratio for PWV=3.14 (95% confidence intervals, 1.03–9.53); P=0.04] and increased cardiovascular autonomic dysfunction [odds ratio for BRS=0.87 (95% confidence intervals, 0.75–1.80); P=0.06]. In conclusion, non-dialysis dependent non-diabetic CKD patients with decreasing GFR have reduced cardiac BRS and increased large artery stiffness. This may have important prognostic and therapeutic consequences for the management of vascular disease in a pre-dialysis population.

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