Tags: Heart Disease | High Blood Pressure | kidney | heart | test | function

Kidney Test Beats Cholesterol for Heart Screening: Hopkins Study

By    |   Friday, 29 May 2015 12:08 PM

Simple measures of kidney function are just as effective in predicting who is at risk for heart attacks, strokes, and related deaths as traditional tests of cholesterol levels and blood pressure, a new study finds.

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research, published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal, could help physicians make better decisions about whether patients need lifestyle modifications such as better diets and more exercise or treatments such as cholesterol-lowering statins.

Such information, researchers note, is already widely available for many patients tested for kidney function that assess blood levels of creatinine, a waste product of the muscles. The compound reflects how well the kidneys are filtering it out. An estimated 290 million creatinine tests are done every year in the United States.

A second kidney-function test, which measures how much of the protein albumin leaks out of the kidney and into the urine, is also commonly performed for patients with diabetes, hypertension, and kidney disease.

"If health care providers have data on kidney damage and kidney function, which they often do, they should be using those data to better understand a patient's risk of cardiovascular disease," said lead researcher Kunihiro Matsushita, M.D., a scientist in the Bloomberg School's Department of Epidemiology.

"Cholesterol levels and blood pressure tests are good indicators of cardiovascular risk, but they are not perfect. This study tells us we could do even better with information that often times we are already collecting."

The researchers’ conclusions are based on an analysis of 24 studies involving more than 637,000 participants. They review found that both kidney tests independently improved prediction of cardiovascular disease in general and particularly heart failure and death from heart attack and stroke.

They also outperformed cholesterol levels and systolic blood pressure — and even whether someone is a smoker — as a risk factor for heart failure and death from heart attack or stroke.

The research was funded by the National Kidney Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

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Kidney-function tests are just as effective in predicting who is at risk for heart attacks, strokes, and related deaths as traditional cholesterol levels and blood pressure checks, a new study finds.
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2015-08-29
Friday, 29 May 2015 12:08 PM
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