Kidney disease and cardiovascular risk could be predicted with simple blood test

A study published today (Nov 12th) in Nature Medicine led by the University of Glasgow, has highlighted that a simple blood test, which could effortlessly be adopted habitually in the NHS, is a more efficient way of measuring both kidney and cardiovascular disease risk, as it offers a more precise diagnosis and could lead to better patient outcomes.

The study used data from over 400,000 patients in the UK Biobank and looked at three different kidney function tests for eGFR – estimated glomerular filtration rate – to see which was the most clinically informative for predicating cardiovascular disease and mortality.

Chronic kidney disease categorised by gradual loss of kidney function over time is common affecting around 10% of the population. It is also related with early onset cardiovascular disease and mortality and more infrequently progresses to the point where patients need dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Amongst patients with Chronic Kidney Disease reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease relies on accurate diagnosis, recognition of risk and early identification and treatment of risk factors.

Dr Jennifer Lees, from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, said: “Our study emphasises how important renal function is for our general health, given that suboptimal renal function can lead to an increased risk of a cardiovascular event.

 “Our findings indicate that patients would benefit from the added predictive value of using a test called the cystatin C test. We would hope to see it adopted as the primary method for diagnosis of Chronic Kidney Disease – particularly for those patients with cardiovascular disease risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension or obesity.

 “We hope our study shows that the adoption of this simple test would provide doctors with a precision medicine diagnosis for kidney disease and cardiovascular risk.”

 Paddy Mark, Professor of Nephrology, added: “For a relatively low cost – about £2.50 per test – doctors can use this test to gain a much clearer understanding of a patient’s kidney health, as well as cardiovascular risk. With this knowledge, doctors can identify and treat risk factors earlier and, hopefully, save more lives in the process.”


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