TEL AVIV, ISRAEL. Chronic dialysis patients are known to have excess cardiovascular mortality. Researchers at the Tel Aviv University now report that dialysis patients can reduce their risk of cardiovascular complications by supplementing with vitamin E. Their study involved 196 dialysis patients between the ages of 40 and 75 years who were having weekly dialysis treatments. All the participants had pre-existing cardiovascular disease (previous heart attack or stroke, angina, peripheral vascular disease or transient cerebral ischemia). The study participants were randomized to receive 800 IU/day of vitamin E or a matching placebo and were followed for a median of 519 days. During the follow-up period 33 per cent of the 99 patients assigned to the placebo had experienced a heart attack or a stroke or developed unstable angina or peripheral vascular disease. This compared to only 16 per cent among the 97 patients taking vitamin E and translates into a 56 per cent reduction in risk in the vitamin E group. Five of the patients in the vitamin E group had a heart attack as compared to 17 in the placebo group - a risk reduction of 70 per cent. The researchers conclude that vitamin E supplementation substantially reduces the risk of further cardiovascular complications, especially heart attack, among chronic dialysis patients with pre-existing heart disease.
Boaz, M., et al. Secondary prevention with antioxidants of cardiovascular disease in endstage renal disease (SPACE): randomised placebo-controlled trial. The Lancet, Vol. 356, October 7, 2000, pp. 1213-18