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Kidney Function Linked to Cardiovascular Disease in Kidney Transplantation Recipients

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By David Liu, PHD

Monday Aug 27, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in patients who received kidney transplantation surgery.  A new study in American Journal of Transplantation suggests what increases risk of cardiovascular disease and death is reduced kidney function, but not preexisting conditions.

The study led by D. E. Weiner of Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA and colleagues found lower glomerular filtration rates were associated with higher risk for both cardiovascular disease and death.

Weiner et al. analysed data from 4016 participants at a mean age of 52 years who were enrolled in the Folic Acid for Vascular Outcome Reduction in Transplantation (FAVORIT) Trial to investigate what risk factors increase risk of cardiovascular disease and death in patients who received kidney transplantation surgery. 

Of the kidney transplant recipients, 3676 provided complete data.  A total of 527 cardiovascular events were recorded during a median of 3.8 years. 

After adjustment for demographic, clinical and transplant characteristics, and traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors, each 5 mL/min/1.73 m2 higher eGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate) at below 45 mL/min/1.73 m2 was correlated with a 15 percent reduced risk for both cardiovascular disease events and death.

EGFR stands for estimated glomerular filtration rate, which indicates kidney function.  A high number means better kidney function.

However, no association was observed between eGFR and adverse outcomes at levels above 45 mL/min/1.73m2 in the kidney transplant recipients.

The researchers concluded in patients who received kidney transplantation surgery and had a stable condition, "lower eGFR is independently associated with adverse events, suggesting that reduced kidney function itself rather than preexisting comorbidity may lead to CVD (cardiovascular disease)."

Kidney transplantation is only reserved for those who are qualified.  To qualify for the surgery, patients need to be close to renal failure because a transplanted kidney has a very short lifespan.

Renal failure or kidney failure including acute  kidney injury, chronic kidney disease and acute-on-chronic renal failure is a medical condition in which the kidneys fail to adequately filter toxins and waste from the blood, according to wikipedia.

Risk of developing kidney failure can be reduced if not completely avoided.  What may help reduce the risk include blood pressure control, taking garlic supplements, quitting smoking, avoiding x-ray exposure, quitting alcohol, drinking sufficient lean water, and regularly taking blood and urine tests to monitor your condition.
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