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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Reducing LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) with statin-based therapy reduces the risk of major atherosclerotic events among patients with CKD, including dialysis patients, but the effect of lowering LDL-C on vascular access patency is unclear. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, & MEASUREMENTS: The Study of Heart and Renal Protection (SHARP) randomized patients with CKD to 20 mg simvastatin plus 10 mg ezetimibe daily versus matching placebo. This study aimed to explore the effects of treatment on vascular access occlusive events, defined as any access revision procedure, access thrombosis, removal of an old dialysis access, or formation of new permanent dialysis access. RESULTS: Among 2353 SHARP participants who had functioning vascular access at randomization, allocation to simvastatin plus ezetimibe resulted in a 13% proportional reduction in vascular access occlusive events (355 [29.7%] for simvastatin/ezetimibe versus 388 [33.5%] for placebo; risk ratio [RR], 0.87; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.75 to 1.00; P=0.05). There was no evidence that the effects of treatment differed for any of the separate components of this outcome. To test the hypothesis raised by SHARP, comparable analyses were performed using the AURORA (A Study to Evaluate the Use of Rosuvastatin in Subjects on Regular Hemodialysis: An Assessment of Survival and Cardiovascular Events) trial cohort. AURORA did not provide independent confirmation (vascular access occlusive events: 352 [28.9%] for rosuvastatin versus 337 [27.6%] for placebo; RR, 1.06, 95% CI, 0.91 to 1.23; P=0.44). After combining the two trials, the overall effect of reducing LDL-C with a statin-based regimen on vascular access occlusive events was not statistically significant (707 [29.3%] with any LDL-C-lowering therapy versus 725 [30.5%] with placebo; RR, 0.95, 95% CI, 0.85 to 1.05; P=0.29). CONCLUSIONS: Exploratory analyses from SHARP suggest that lowering LDL-C with statin-based therapy may improve vascular access patency, but there was no evidence of benefit in AURORA. Taken together, the available evidence suggests that any benefits of lowering LDL-C on vascular access patency are likely to be modest.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin J Am Soc Nephrol

Publication Date





914 - 919


lipids, statins, vascular access, Aged, Anticholesteremic Agents, Azetidines, Catheterization, Cholesterol, LDL, Device Removal, Drug Therapy, Combination, Ezetimibe, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Renal Dialysis, Renal Insufficiency, Chronic, Reoperation, Simvastatin, Thrombosis, Vascular Access Devices, Vascular Patency