Heart disease linked to a higher kidney failure risk

In a new study, researchers found that cardiovascular diseases—including heart failure, atrial fibrillation, coronary heart disease, and stroke—are each linked with a higher risk of developing kidney failure.

The research was conducted by a team at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The heart and the kidneys have a bi-directional relationship, whereby dysfunction in either may compromise the function of the other.

Many studies have examined the risks of kidney disease on heart health, but few have examined the reciprocal relationship.

In the study, the team examined information on 9,047 US adults who did not have signs of heart disease when they enrolled in a community-based study.

During a follow-up of 17.5 years, 2,598 participants were hospitalized with cardiovascular disease—1,269 with heart failure, 1,337 with atrial fibrillation, 696 with coronary heart disease, and 559 with stroke—and 210 patients developed kidney failure.

The incidence of major cardiovascular disease was linked to a higher risk of kidney failure, with the highest risk for heart failure.

Participants hospitalized with heart failure had an 11.4-times higher risk of developing kidney failure than participants without cardiovascular disease.

The team says this is the first study quantifying the contribution of different cardiovascular diseases to the development of kidney failure.

People with a history of heart disease should be recognized as a high-risk population for kidney failure.

In this context, doctors should be aware of heart disease as an important risk condition, and thereby minimize treatments that are toxic to the kidneys in such people.

One author of the study is Kunihiro Matsushita, MD, Ph.D.

The study is published in JASN.

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