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Enfermería Nefrológica

On-line version ISSN 2255-3517Print version ISSN 2254-2884


CARDONA-BLASCO, María Pilar; CAHUANCAMA-SOLANO, Elena Liset  and  ELIAS-SANZ, Eva. Calciphylaxis in a hemodialysis patient: a serious complication with high mortality. Enferm Nefrol [online]. 2023, vol.26, n.2, pp.178-184.  Epub Sep 25, 2023. ISSN 2255-3517.

Case description:

Patient with end-stage renal disease undergoing hemodialysis treatment for 1 year. The patient presents to the hemodialysis session with extremely painful necrotic-looking skin lesions on the distal lower extremities, suggestive of calciphylaxis, which have been present for 2 weeks. Given the patient’s medical history of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and anticoagulation with acenocoumarol, along with the risk factors present, immediate measures are initiated due to the poor prognosis of this condition.

Description/evaluation of the care plan:

Acenocoumarol treatment is discontinued, and anticoagulation with low molecular weight heparin is initiated. Vitamin D supplements are also discontinued. Bisphosphonates are started as calcium inhibitors, sodium thiosulfate is administered as a vasodilator, and phosphate binder. An analgesic regimen is established, with pain control being one of the most important goals of the care plan. This includes the administration of opioids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or morphine. Although challenging, the nursing role has been crucial in providing maximum comfort. Close monitoring and wound care are also important to prevent infections and control the disease, although an adverse and rapid progression was observed despite the adjunctive therapies, as necrotic lesions were already present at the time of diagnosis.


Calciphylaxis is a rare but serious complication often observed in patients with chronic kidney disease, especially in those undergoing hemodialysis. Treatment is multidisciplinary, and early identification of these patients is important. Unfortunately, as in our case, the outcomes are not always favorable.

Keywords : calciphylaxis; chronic kidney disease; hemodialysis; nursing care plans; nursing care.

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