Hemodialysis (HD) patients are commonly affected by secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT), in which 3 well-known factors are usually involved: hypocalcemia, hyperphosphatemia and calcitriol deficiency. Classically, high parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels cause bone-associated diseases, such as osteitis fibrosa and renal osteodystrophy, but more recently it has been demonstrated the link between SHPT and a systemic toxicity, with a major role in determining cardio-vascular disease, including arterial calcification, endocrine disturbances, compromised immune system, neurobehavioral changes, and altered erythropoiesis. Treatment with calcitriol (CT), the active form of vitamin D, reduces parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels, but may result in elevations in serum calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P), increasing the risk of cardio-vascular calcification in the HD population. Several new vitamin D analogs have been developed and investigated with the rationale to treat SHPT with a reduced risk of hypercalcemia and hyperphosphatemia in HD patients. Paricalcitol (1,25-dihydroxy-19-nor-vitamin D2, 19- Nor-D2) is a vitamin D analog that suppresses PTH secretion with minimal increases on serum calcium and phosphate levels. It was demonstrated that paricalcitol prevents vascular calcification in experimental models of renal failure, compared with calcitriol. Furthermore, 19-Nor-D2 is the first analog approved for use in HD patients and is available for i.v. and oral administration, commonly 3 times weekly after HD. The purpose of the present review is to analyze the pathogenesis and treatment of SHPT in HD patients, and the role of paricalcitol in the prevention of arterial calcification.