Serum Asymmetric and Symmetric Dimethylarginine and Morbidity and Mortality in Hemodialysis Patients

Tariq Shafi, Thomas H. Hostetter, Timothy W. Meyer, Seungyoung Hwang, Xin Hai, Michal L. Melamed, Tanushree Banerjee, Josef Coresh, Neil R. Powe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background Asymmetric (ADMA) and symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA) are putative uremic toxins that may exert toxicity by a number of mechanisms, including impaired nitric oxide synthesis and generation of reactive oxygen species. The study goal was to determine the association between these metabolites and cardiovascular outcomes in hemodialysis patients. Study Design Post hoc analysis of the Hemodialysis (HEMO) Study. Setting & Participants 1,276 prevalent hemodialysis patients with available samples 3 to 6 months after randomization. Predictor ADMA and SDMA measured in stored specimens. Outcomes Cardiac death, sudden cardiac death, first cardiovascular event, and any-cause death. Association with predictors analyzed using Cox regression adjusted for potential confounders (including demographics, clinical characteristics, comorbid conditions, albumin level, and residual kidney function). Results Mean age of patients was 57 ± 14 (SD) years, 63% were black, and 57% were women. Mean ADMA (0.9 ± 0.2 μmol/L) and SDMA levels (4.3 ± 1.4 μmol/L) were moderately correlated (r = 0.418). Higher dialysis dose or longer session length were not associated with lower predialysis ADMA or SDMA concentrations. In fully adjusted models, each doubling of ADMA level was associated with higher risk (HR per 2-fold higher concentration; 95% CI) of cardiac death (1.83; 1.29-2.58), sudden cardiac death (1.79; 1.19-2.69), first cardiovascular event (1.50; 1.20-1.87), and any-cause death (1.44; 1.13-1.83). Compared to the lowest ADMA quintile (<0.745 μmol/L), the highest ADMA quintile (≥1.07 μmol/L) was associated with higher risk (HR; 95% CI) of cardiac death (2.10; 1.44-3.05), sudden cardiac death (2.06; 1.46-2.90), first cardiovascular event (1.75; 1.35-2.27), and any-cause death (1.56; 1.21-2.00). SDMA level was associated with higher risk for cardiac death (HR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.03-1.92), but this was no longer statistically significant after adjusting for ADMA level (HR, 1.20; 95% CI, 0.86-1.68). Limitations Single time-point measurement of ADMA and SDMA. Conclusions ADMA and, to a lesser extent, SDMA levels are associated with cardiovascular outcomes in hemodialysis patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-58
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • Cardiovascular mortality
  • asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA)
  • cardiac death
  • cardiovascular morbidity
  • dialysis outcomes
  • end-stage renal disease (ESRD)
  • hemodialysis
  • sudden cardiac death
  • symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA)
  • uremic toxins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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