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Calciphylaxis (calcific uremic arteriolopathy)

Sagar U Nigwekar, MD, MMSc
Ravi I Thadhani, MD, MPH
Section Editors
Stanley Goldfarb, MD
L Darryl Quarles, MD
Deputy Editor
Alice M Sheridan, MD


Calciphylaxis is a rare and serious disorder that presents with skin ischemia and necrosis and is characterized histologically by calcification of dermal arterioles.

Calciphylaxis most commonly occurs in patients who have end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and are on dialysis or who have recently received a renal transplant [1-5] but may also occur in non-ESRD patients [6].

The term "calciphylaxis" is a misnomer since it implies a systemic anaphylactic or hypersensitivity reaction [7]. Calcific uremic arteriolopathy (CUA) is a more descriptive term for this process in ESRD patients; however, calciphylaxis is still widely used to describe this disorder [8,9]. We use the term CUA to refer to calciphylaxis in ESRD patients. We continue to use the term calciphylaxis to refer to the disorder in non-ESRD patients.

This topic reviews the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of CUA.

Other issues related to vascular calcification in ESRD are presented separately. (See "Vascular calcification in chronic kidney disease" and "Biology of vascular calcification in chronic kidney disease".)

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: Mar 10, 2017.
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