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Bone Marker Linked to Death in Dialysis Patients

High or rising levels of alkaline phosphatase associated with higher death risk

THURSDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- High or rising levels of alkaline phosphatase, a marker of bone turnover, are associated with a higher risk of death in patients undergoing dialysis, according to the results of a study published online July 30 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Deborah L. Regidor, from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, Calif., and colleagues measured serum alkaline phosphatase levels in 73,960 hemodialysis patients.

After adjusting for a number of factors, including parathyroid hormone and aspartate aminotransferase levels, the researchers found that patients with alkaline phosphatase levels of 120 U/L or more had a significantly higher risk of death in three years (hazard ratio 1.25). This association remained true among diverse groups of patients, such as those positive for hepatitis C, the investigators found. Increases in alkaline phosphatase of 10 U/L during the first six months were associated with a higher risk of death in the following 2.5 years.

"In summary, high levels of serum alkaline phosphatase, especially greater than 120 U/L, are associated with mortality among hemodialysis patients," Regidor and colleagues conclude.

Several of the study authors report financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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