Calciphylaxis in end-stage kidney failure: How is it treated?

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Calciphylaxis: How is it treated?

Question

What can you tell me about calciphylaxis in end-stage kidney failure? How is it treated?

Charlie
Canada

Answer

Calciphylaxis is an uncommon, sometimes fatal complication of end-stage kidney failure in which calcium deposits form in the small blood vessels in the skin, reducing blood flow to the skin. This results in painful skin sores (ulcers), which are susceptible to infection, and tissue death (necrosis). Treatment of calciphylaxis associated with kidney failure is difficult but may include:

  • Aggressive wound care to prevent infection, such as keeping the wound clean, removing dead skin and tissue (debridement), and taking pressure off the area
  • Antibiotics if infection is present
  • Pain medications
  • Reducing calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood, such as with dietary changes and stopping calcium and vitamin D supplements
  • Changes in dialysis prescription if person is receiving dialysis
  • Hyperbaric oxygen treatment
  • Tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA)

Last Updated: 08/21/2006
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