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Irregular heart beat elevates risk of kidney failure

Date:
January 17, 2013
Source:
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)
Summary:
Many people who suffer from chronic kidney disease progressively lose their kidney function over time and eventually develop a condition called end-stage renal disease – the complete failure of the kidneys – placing them in need of lifelong dialysis or a kidney transplant. Scientists have found that the risk of kidney failure is greater for people with chronic kidney disease who also have atrial fibrillation, one of the most common forms of irregular heart rhythm in adults.

Many people who suffer from chronic kidney disease progressively lose their kidney function over time and eventually develop a condition called end-stage renal disease -- the complete failure of the kidneys -- placing them in need of lifelong dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Now researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research have found that the risk of kidney failure is greater for people with chronic kidney disease who also have atrial fibrillation, one of the most common forms of irregular heart rhythm in adults.

The finding opens the way for further studies into the relationship between the two factors, which could lead to new treatment approaches that would improve outcomes for people with chronic kidney disease.

Doctors have known that patients with chronic kidney disease or end-stage renal disease commonly have atrial fibrillation and as a result are more likely to have a stroke or to die. However, the long-term impact of atrial fibrillation on kidney function among patients with known chronic kidney disease has been unknown.

The new study, published last month in the journal Circulation, involved 206,229 adults with chronic kidney disease who were drawn from members of Kaiser Permanente Northern California, a large integrated health care delivery system.. Over the course of about five years, approximately 16,400 patients developed atrial fibrillation, and those who did were 67 percent more likely to progress to end-stage renal disease compared with patients who had chronic kidney disease but did not develop atrial fibrillation

"These novel findings expand on previous knowledge by highlighting that atrial fibrillation is linked to a worse kidney prognosis in patients with underlying kidney dysfunction," said kidney specialist Nisha Bansal, MD, an assistant professor in the Division of Nephrology at UCSF.

"There is a knowledge gap about the long-term impact of atrial fibrillation on the risk of adverse kidney-related outcomes in patients with chronic kidney disease," said senior author Alan S. Go, MD, director of the Comprehensive Clinical Research Unit at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research. "This study addresses that gap and may have important implications for clinical management by providing better prognostic information and leading to future work determining how to improve outcomes in this high-risk group of patients."

Beating the Odds

People who have chronic kidney disease fall into a spectrum in terms of how severe their disease is. At one end are those who have very minor loss of kidney function. They may not have any symptoms at all, and only by applying a simple blood test can doctors properly diagnose their disease.

At the other end of the spectrum are the people who have progressed to end-stage renal disease, which is basically complete kidney failure. They require lifelong dialysis or a kidney transplant. Some people progress rapidly to end-stage renal disease while others may live for decades without ever progressing.

Doctors are interested in understanding the factors that place patients at greater risk for end-stage renal disease, Bansal said, because it may be possible to address those factors through medications or lifestyle changes like diet or exercise.

Bansal added, however, that while the two conditions are intertwined, scientists do not know exactly which specific genes, pathways and biological mechanisms connect irregular heartbeat to declines in kidney function. Neither do they yet know the extent to which treating atrial fibrillation will improve outcomes for people with chronic kidney disease.

This work was funded by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) through grant #K23 DK088865, #K24 DK92291, #5U01 DK060902, #5U19 HL091179 and #5 RC2 HL101589. Both NIDDK and NHLBI are components of the National Institutes of Health.

UCSF.edu | Facebook.com/ucsf | Twitter.com/ucsf | YouTube.com/ucsf


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. N. Bansal, D. Fan, C.-y. Hsu, J. D. Ordonez, G. M. Marcus, A. S. Go. Incident Atrial Fibrillation and Risk of End-Stage Renal Disease in Adults with Chronic Kidney Disease. Circulation, 2012; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.112.123992

Cite This Page:

University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). "Irregular heart beat elevates risk of kidney failure." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130117142353.htm>.
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). (2013, January 17). Irregular heart beat elevates risk of kidney failure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130117142353.htm
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). "Irregular heart beat elevates risk of kidney failure." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130117142353.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

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