Trimethylamine n-oxide and cardiovascular events in hemodialysis patients

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


Cardiovascular disease causes over 50% of the deaths in dialysis patients, and the risk of death is higher in white than in black patients. The underlying mechanisms for these findings are unknown. We determined the association of the proatherogenic metabolite trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) with cardiovascular outcomes in hemodialysis patients and assessed whether this association differs by race. We measured TMAO in stored serumsamples obtained 3-6months after randomization from a total of 1232 white and black patients of the Hemodialysis Study, and analyzed the association of TMAO with cardiovascular outcomes using Cox models adjusted for potential confounders (demographics, clinical characteristics, comorbidities, albumin, and residual kidney function).Mean age of the patients was 58 years; 35%of patients were white. TMAO concentration did not differ between whites and blacks. In whites, 2-fold higher TMAO associated with higher risk (hazard ratio [95%confidence interval]) of cardiac death (1.45 [1.24 to 1.69]), sudden cardiac death [1.70 (1.34 to 2.15)], first cardiovascular event (1.15 [1.01 to 1.32]), and any-cause death (1.22 [1.09 to 1.36]). In blacks, the association was nonlinear and significant only for cardiac death among patients with TMAO concentrations below the median (1.58 [1.03 to 2.44]). Compared with blacks in the same quintile, whites in the highest quintile for TMAO($135mM) hada 4-fold higher risk of cardiac or sudden cardiac death and a 2-fold higher risk of anycause death. We conclude that TMAO concentration associates with cardiovascular events in hemodialysis patients but the effects differ by race.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-331
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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