A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of spironolactone on carotid intima-media thickness in nondiabetic hemodialysis patients

Antonio Vukusich, Sonia Kunstmann, Cristian Varela, Daniela Gainza, Sebastian Bravo, Daniela Sepulveda, Gabriel Cavada, Luis Michea, Elisa T. Marusic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Background and objectives: Hemodialysis patients (HD) display high rates of cardiac diseases and mortality. In chronic kidney disease, vascular injury leads to coronary artery disease, heart failure, and stroke. Carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) measurements are currently widely used in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to study the efficacy of interventions. An RCT was designed for the assessment of the safety and effectiveness of spironolactone to inhibit the progression of CIMT in HD patients as a primary outcome. Secondary outcomes included measurements of plasma potassium. Design, setting, participants, & measurements: HD patients were randomly assigned to receive 50 mg spironolactone or placebo thrice weekly after dialysis. In between dialysis sessions, plasma potassium concentrations were measured every month. Ultrasonographic measurements of CIMT were done at the beginning of the study and after 2 years. Results: Fifty-three age- and sex-adjusted patients (30 with drug and 23 with placebo) successfully completed the trial. There were no significant differences between the two groups in all profiles studied at baseline. Measurements of CIMT after 2 years showed a progression in the placebo group, whereas in the spironolactone group a significant decrease or even reversed CIMT was observed. Progression rates (mm/yr) were: common carotid, placebo: 0.06 ± 0.07, spironolactone: 0.01 ± 0.04; carotid bifurcation, placebo: 0.15 ± 0.27, spironolactone: 0.0001 ± 0.01; internal carotid, placebo: 0.10 ± 0.12, spironolactone: -0.10 ± 0.15. No episodes of hyperkalemia were observed, but a slight increase in plasma potassium was found in the spironolactone group. Conclusions: Fifty milligrams of spironolactone thrice weekly significantly reduced the progression of CIMT in HD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1380-1387
Number of pages8
JournalClinical journal of the American Society of Nephrology : CJASN
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2010

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2010 by the American Society of Nephrology.


  • Aged
  • Aldosterone Antagonists
  • Biological Markers
  • Carotid Arteries
  • Carotid Artery Diseases
  • Chile
  • Disease Progression
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Placebo Effect
  • Potassium
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Spironolactone
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tunica Intima
  • Tunica Media


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