Serum Phosphorus and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, All-Cause Mortality, or Graft Failure in Kidney Transplant Recipients: An Ancillary Study of the FAVORIT Trial Cohort

Academic Article


  • Background Mild hyperphosphatemia is a putative risk factor for cardiovascular disease [CVD], loss of kidney function, and mortality. Very limited data are available from sizable multicenter kidney transplant recipient (KTR) cohorts assessing the potential relationships between serum phosphorus levels and the development of CVD outcomes, transplant failure, or all-cause mortality. Study Design Cohort study. Setting & Participants The Folic Acid for Vascular Outcome Reduction in Transplantation (FAVORIT) Trial, a large, multicenter, multiethnic, controlled clinical trial that provided definitive evidence that high-dose vitamin B−based lowering of plasma homocysteine levels did not reduce CVD events, transplant failure, or total mortality in stable KTRs. Predictor Serum phosphorus levels were determined in 3,138 FAVORIT trial participants at randomization. Results During a median follow-up of 4.0 years, the cohort had 436 CVD events, 238 transplant failures, and 348 deaths. Proportional hazards modeling revealed that each 1-mg/dL higher serum phosphorus level was not associated with a significant increase in CVD risk (HR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.92-1.22), but increased transplant failure (HR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.15-1.62) and total mortality risk associations (HR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.04-1.40) when adjusted for treatment allocation, traditional CVD risk factors, kidney measures, type of kidney transplant, transplant vintage, and use of calcineurin inhibitors, steroids, or lipid-lowering drugs. These associations were strengthened in models without kidney measures: CVD (HR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.00-1.31), transplant failure (HR, 1.72; 95% CI, 1.46-2.01), and mortality (HR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.15-1.54). Limitations We lacked data for concentrations of parathyroid hormone, fibroblast growth factor 23, or vitamin D metabolites. Conclusions Serum phosphorus level is marginally associated with CVD and more strongly associated with transplant failure and total mortality in long-term KTRs. A randomized controlled clinical trial in KTRs that assesses the potential impact of phosphorus-lowering therapy on these hard outcomes may be warranted.
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    Author List

  • Merhi B; Shireman T; Carpenter MA; Kusek JW; Jacques P; Pfeffer M; Rao M; Foster MC; Kim SJ; Pesavento TE
  • Start Page

  • 377
  • End Page

  • 385
  • Volume

  • 70
  • Issue

  • 3