Low-Density Lipoprotein Apheresis Ameliorates Renal Prognosis of Cholesterol Crystal Embolism

Journal Reference

Ther Apher Dial. 2015;19(4):355-60.

Ishiyama K, Sato T, Taguma Y. 

Department of Nephrology, Japan Community Health Care Organization Sendai Hospital, Sendai, Japan.


Drugs such as corticosteroids and statins have been used to treat cholesterol crystal embolism (CCE), but the prognosis remains poor. This study evaluated the efficacy of low-density lipoprotein apheresis (LDL-A) in patients with cholesterol crystal embolism. Patients with cholesterol crystal embolism who showed renal deterioration after vascular interventions were studied retrospectively. Information on demographic variables, clinical measurements, and medication use was collected. The outcomes were incidence of maintenance dialysis and mortality at 24 weeks. A total of 49 patients with cholesterol crystal embolism were included, among whom 37 (76%) were diagnosed pathologically and the remainder  were diagnosed clinically. The median estimated GFR at baseline and at diagnosis were 40.5 and 13.4 mL/min per 1.73 m(2) , respectively. Corticosteroids were used in 42 patients (86%), statins in 30 patients (61%), and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers in 29 patients (59%). LDL-A was performed in 25 patients (LDL-A group), and not in 24 patients (control group). Smoking (100% vs. 72%, P = 0.02), white blood cell count (8900/mm(3) vs. 7000/mm(3) ) and corticosteroid use (96% vs. 75%) were higher in the LDL-A group compared with the control group, but there were no differences in other demographic and clinical parameters between the groups. Patients in the LDL-A group had a lower incidence of maintenance dialysis (2/25 (8%) vs. 8/24 (33%), P < 0.05), and a trend towards lower mortality (2/25 (8%) vs. 7/24 (29%), P = 0.074). These results suggest that LDL-A decreases the risk of maintenance dialysis in severe renal cholesterol crystal embolism patients after vascular interventions.

© 2015 International Society for Apheresis, Japanese Society for Apheresis, and Japanese Society for Dialysis Therapy.

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Figure: the picture shows typical findings of renal cholesterol crystal embolism in biopsy specimen.

Low-Density Lipoprotein Apheresis Ameliorates Renal Prognosis of cholesterol crystal embolism. Global Medical Discovery