Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, NEJM, Transplantation / 04.08.2017 Interview with: Stanley C. Jordan, M.D DirectorDivision of Nephrology Medical DirectorKidney Transplant Program Medical Director, Human Leukocyte Antigen and Transplant Immunology Laboratory Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles, CA What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background for this study is as follows: Patients who are highly HLA sensitized have antibodies to transplant targets create an immunologic barrier to transplant. Currently, there are no approved therapies for elimination of these antibodies. Desensitization is available but is not always successful and most desensitized patients are still transplanted with a positive crossmatch. Thus, many patients are not able to receive life-saving kidney transplants unless newer therapies to remove antibodies are found. The findings of our study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that the use of the enzyme from streptococcal pyogenes called IdeS® (IgG endopeptidase) is very effective in eliminating donor specific antibodies and allowing transplantation to occur. Antibodies were eliminated from one week up to two months after one treatment with Ides® allowing a safe environment for the transplant to occur. Rejections episodes did occur in some of the patients but were generally mild and easily treatable. Only one patient of 25 lost his allograft during the study. Thus, the study shows promising results for a new approach for elimination of pathogenic antibodies that did not exist before. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Kidney Disease / 06.06.2017 Interview with: Kathy Aebel-Groesch, MSW,LCSW Manager, Social Work Services DaVita Inc. What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Chronic pain and depression can impact quality of life and adherence to treatment regimen among patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Previous research has demonstrated that patients with ESRD experience pain and depression more frequently than the general population. From 2016, CMS has required that all eligible ESRD patients are evaluated regularly for pain and depressive symptoms. We assessed pain and depression symptom scores among patients of a large dialysis organization (LDO) over the period Mar-Oct 2016. Pain was assessed monthly by LDO nurses using the Wong-Baker pain scale (0-10). Depression screenings were conducted biannually by LDO social workers using the PHQ-2 (scale 0-6) and excluded patients with existing diagnosis of depression or bipolar disorder, cognitive impairment or language barrier, and those who were hospitalized or refused screening. A total of 688,346 pain responses from 160,626 individual patients and 223,421 depression screening responses from 158,172 patients were considered. A score of 0 (no pain) was reported for 83.5% of pain responses and 65.7% of patients had a 0 score in all pain assessments. A score of 10 (most severe pain) was reported at least once during the study period by 3.0% of patients. Patients with a pain score of 10 were more frequently female (55%) and patients on peritoneal dialysis were less likely to have a pain score of 10 than those on other modalities. A depression score of 0 (patient answered "Not at all" to both “Little interest or pleasure in doing things” and “Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless”) was reported for 69.1% of all responses and 62.6% of patients had a 0 score in all assessments; 1.8% of patients had at least one score of 6 (patient responded “Nearly every day” to both questions) and 9.7% had at least one score of 3 or more. Patients with a score of 0 were more likely to be male vs. female, HHD vs. PD or ICHD, ≥ age 70 years. The majority of ESRD patients did not report pain symptoms and, among those not excluded from screening due to an existing diagnosis of depression or other reason, the majority did not report symptoms of depression. However, routine assessment of pain and depression enables the timely identification of new or increased symptoms, thus allowing earlier implementation of interventions that may improve patient experience. The LDO has since revised its depression screening policy to remove diagnosis of depression from exclusion criteria and to administer the PHQ-9 to patients with a PHQ-2 score ≥ 3. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Kidney Disease, Lancet, Merck / 01.06.2017 Interview with: Annette Bruchfeld MD, PhD Senior Consultant Associate Professor Karolinska Institute Dept of Renal Medicine, M99 Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge Stockholm, Sweden What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In patients with stage 4–5 chronic kidney disease(CKD), hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can accelerate the decline in kidney function, impair health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and decrease survival chances of both patients and grafts in transplantation recipients. In this study additional data from patients with stage 4–5 chronic kidney disease undergoing treatment for HCV infection in the C-SURFER study, including HRQOL and resistance analyses was presented not previously reported for this patient population with gwnotype 1 infection. The final virological analysis of this study indicated a high cure rate with sustained virological response at 12 weeks after the end of treatment (SVR12) in more than 98% of all treated patients. Even in patients with resistance-associated substitutions (RASs) the SVR was high in 11 (84·6%) of 13 patients genotype 1a infection. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Transplantation / 30.05.2017 Interview with: Deborah Evans, MA, MSW, LCSW Manager, Social Work Services DaVita Kidney Care What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: For patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) receiving dialysis, receipt of a transplant offers the best possible long-term treatment option. However, the process of becoming qualified to receive a transplant involves many steps, beginning with the patient’s statement of interest. In this study, we sought to characterize transplant interest among patients in a large dialysis organization in the U.S. and to explore reasons identified by the patients for lack of interest in transplant when applicable. As of November 2016, of the 182,906 patients with available transplant status information in the LDO database, 58,057 (31.7%) expressed that they were not interested in transplant. Among patients not interested in transplant, the most frequently identified reasons for lack of interest were:
  • Advanced age (25.7%)
  • Perceived poor health (12.0%)
  • Comfortable with current modality (12.0%)
  • Uninterested in further surgeries (11.9%)
  • 13.2% of patients not interested in transplant indicated that “other” factors were responsible for their lack of interest. At the time of the study, we didn’t have any further insight into what might account for these “other” factors.
Compared to patients with transplant status listed as active, those not interested in transplant were:
  • Older (21.4% < 60 years vs 64.6%)
  • More likely to be female (47.7% vs 36.6%)
  • More likely to be white (43.9% vs 30.4%) and less likely to be Hispanic (14.7% vs 22.2%)
  • More likely to be receiving in-center hemodialysis (92.0% vs 73.7%)
  • More likely to have Medicare/Medicaid as primary insurance (91.3% vs. 77.3%)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Kidney Disease / 13.05.2017 Interview with: Shaum Kabadi HEOR Director at AstraZeneca What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: More than 20 million adults – roughly 1 in 10 adults – in the US are estimated to have chronic kidney disease (CKD), and this population is expected to grow as the US population ages. Patients with CKD are at high risk for progression to end-stage renal disease (ESRD), a condition requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation to maintain patients’ long-term survival. The cost of treating ESRD patients was over $40 billion in public and private funds in 2009. Prior research shows per-person annual Medicare expenses attributable to CKD were $1,700 for Stage 2, $3,500 for Stage 3, and $12,700 for Stage 4. Additional research is required to understand the economic burden of CKD by stage in a contemporary cohort of commercially insured patients with non-dialysis-dependent (NDD)-CKD. This retrospective cohort study utilized data from the HealthCore Integrated Research Environment, which contained medical and pharmacy administrative claims integrated with laboratory result values from 14 regionally dispersed Anthem health plans in the US. Of 16,030 patients identified with CKD, the mean (SD) estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) (all in mL/min/1.73 m2) in 2014 was 44.3 (±18.7), and the breakdown by eGFR levels was: Stage 1 (≥90) 3%, Stage 2 (60–89) 13%, Stage 3a (45–59) 27%, Stage 3b (30–44) 35%, Stage 4 (15–29) 19%, and Stage 5 (<15) 3%. Mean age across all stages was 67.4 years, and 47% were women. Hospitalization rate (%) and number of outpatient encounters (visits per patient per year) by stage were: Stage 1 (11.6%, 19.8), Stage 2 (14.9%, 22.5), Stage 3a (16.2%, 23.6), Stage 3b (23.7%, 29.5), Stage 4 (30.7%, 36.3), and Stage 5 (30.8%, 61.7) (p-trend). (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Kidney Disease / 07.05.2017 Interview with: Tanushree Banerjee, M.S., M.Phil., Ph.D. Research Specialist, Department of General Internal Medicine, San Francisco General Hospital, University of California, San Francisco, What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) has increased among adults with diagnosed hypertension (HTN), undiagnosed HTN and pre-hypertension as compared to normotension. However, whether CKD prevalence has changed across each of these groups is unknown. The prevalence of CKD decreased over time among persons with diagnosed, undiagnosed, and pre-hypertension while there was not any change in normotensives. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Kidney Disease, Surgical Research / 04.05.2017 Interview with: Nirat Beohar, MD Vice-Chief of Cardiology Director Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory Director Structural Heart Disease Program Director Interventional Cardiology Fellowship program Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory Columbia University Division of Cardiology, Mount Sinai Medical Center Miami Beach, Miami, FL 33140 What is the background for this study? Response: Nirat Beohar MD, Director of the Cardiovascular Catheterization Laboratory and Vice-Chief of Cardiology at the Columbia University Division of Cardiology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center and co-authors report the effect of trans-catheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) on subsequent renal function and outcomes in high-risk and inoperable patients presenting with baseline renal dysfunction (eGFR < 60 ml/min/1.73 m2). This was a sub-study of patients undergoing TAVR in the PARTNER 1 trial and continued access registry that was conducted in 25 centers in the United States and Canada. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Social Issues / 03.05.2017 Interview with: Wendy Tan Senior Medical Social Worker Medical Social Work The National Kidney Foundation What is the background for this study? Response: End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) patients experience significant changes to their daily routine and lifestyle. Their time and attention were often centred solely on their sickness whilst receiving treatment accentuating the employment isolation. This study determined the need for extra support to assist patients adjust (e.g. learning about their psychological wellbeing, change of role and mindset, suitable work conditions and employment support) in returning to work. It also sheds light on how individuals perceive the particular situations they are facing, how they are making sense of their health conditions and the society at large in relations to seeking continued employment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cleveland Clinic, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease / 01.05.2017 Interview with: Mohamed Khayata, MD Internal Medicine Resident PGY-3 Cleveland Clinic Akron General Akron, Ohio What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies showed that patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) who had elevated creatinine and/or impaired creatinine clearance on presentation had higher short- and long-term mortality independent of other cardiovascular risk factors. We used the National Cardiovascular Database Registry to investigate the impact of creatinine levels at the time of presentation on the cardiovascular outcomes in patients who presented with STEMI. Our study showed that elevated creatinine levels correlated with higher incidence of atrial fibrillation, bleeding, heart failure, and cardiogenic shock during hospital stay after the percutaneous intervention. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Kidney Disease / 29.04.2017 Interview with: Sean Bagshaw MD MSc Director for Research for the Division of Critical Care Medicine School of Public Health University of Alberta, Canada What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The rationale for SPARK stemmed from two general observations. First, experimental and pre-clinical data have suggested the timely utilization of loop diuretics in early AKI could provide “kidney protection” largely mediated through reduction in medullary oxygen demand. Yet, this is in apparent paradox with clinical data (largely derived from older observational studies at some risk of bias) suggesting use of loop diuretics in AKI may be associated with increased risk for death and/or non-recovery of kidney function. Second, in AKI, loop diuretics are used exceedingly often. Surveys of healthcare practitioners and observational data suggest more than two-thirds to three-quarters of patients are exposed to diuretics at some point during their course. This represents a significant misalignment between evidence and clinical practice. This would suggest there is need to generate new evidence and knowledge that would ideally help inform best practice in the management of AKI. SPARK was designed as a pilot trial largely aimed at evaluating the feasibility of the approach to use of loop diuretics in early AKI. While SPARK did not find significant differences in risk of worsening AKI, utilization of RRT or mortality, we recognize the trial was underpowered to meaningfully inform about these and other patient-centered outcomes. We did see differences in secondary endpoints (i.e., fluid balance); however, use of loop diuretics in this setting was also associated with greater incidence of electrolyte abnormalities. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Mineral Metabolism, Nutrition, Social Issues, Transplantation / 25.04.2017 Interview with: Ms. Shifra Mincer Medical Student in the class of 2019 SUNY Downstate Medical School What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Hypophosphatemia is commonly encountered in the post-transplant setting. Early post-transplant hypophosphatemia has been ascribed to excess FGF23 and hyperphosphaturia. Many patients remain hypohosphatemic months or even years after their transplant and the mechanism was assumed to be the same, however, our group recently reported that patients with late post-transplant hypophosphatemia had very little phosphorous in their urine (Wu S, Brar A, Markell, MS. Am J Kidney Dis. 2016,67(5): A18). We hypothesized that they were not eating enough phosphorous to compensate for the acute phosphorous losses they experienced immediately post-transplant. In this study, using both 3-day diet journals and 24-hour diet recall questionnaires, we found that mean intake of phosphorous and protein was barely at the Recommended Daily Allowance, and that despite 70% of the patients using EBT, 30% of those patients still reported concerns regarding food security. Patients who reported that the cost of food influenced their dietary choices ate 43% less protein (average 48,5 gms vs. 85.8 gms) and 29% less phosphorous (average 887 mg vs 1257 mg). When ability to rise from a chair over a 30 second period was evaluated, only patients who expressed food cost concerns were unable to complete the test. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease / 20.04.2017 Interview with: Francesco Violi MD Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Specialties e Sapienza University Rome, Italy What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The paper reports on the protocol of a trial where we will test the effect of aspirin on renal disease progression in diabetic patients. The study will start shortly and will be terminate next year. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Transplantation / 04.04.2017 Interview with: Amanda Miller, MD, FRCPC Dalhousie University Transplant Nephrology What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Earlier studies have shown that there may be a higher risk of kidney transplant failure if a kidney donor is smaller than their recipient. This may be due to increased strain on the relatively smaller transplanted kidney. Very few studies have investigated outcomes associated with donor and recipient weight mismatch measured directly by differences in body weight however. There is also a suggestion that sex mismatch between kidney donor and recipient may lead to worse outcomes post-transplant, however results from earlier studies have been controversial and conflicting. The combined effect of weight and sex matching/mismatching between kidney donor and recipient (two very important and physiologically relevant factors) has not been rigorously studied previously. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine if receiving a kidney transplant from a smaller donor of the opposite sex would impact transplant outcomes. Accounting for other transplant variables, we demonstrated that if a kidney transplant recipient is more than 30 kg (66 pounds) heavier than the donor there is a 28% increased risk of the transplant failing compared to equally weighted donors and recipients. If the kidney is from a smaller donor of the opposite sex, the risk of transplant failure is further increased to 35% for a male receiving a kidney from a female donor, and 50% for a female receiving a kidney from a male donor. This risk is high and is similar to that when a recipient receives a kidney transplant from a donor who has diabetes; a known risk factor for kidney failure in the non-transplant population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Pediatrics / 16.03.2017 Interview with: Constadina Panagiotopoulos, MD, FRCPC Department of Pediatrics, Endocrinology & Diabetes Unit British Columbia Children’s Hospital Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada What is the background for this study? Response: I decided to conduct this study after observing a few cases of severe acute kidney injury (AKI) in children hospitalized with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) (with two patients requiring dialysis) while on call in the 18 months prior to initiating the study. While caring for these patients, I scanned the literature and realized that aside from 2 published case reports, there had been no large-scale systematic studies assessing AKI in children with DKA. It immediately became apparent to me that managing patients with AKI and DKA was more challenging. On presentation to hospital, many of these children with DKA present quite volume depleted but fluid management is conservative because of the risk for cerebral edema. One of the most important management strategies for acute kidney injury in patients with DKA is early detection and correcting volume depletion in a timely manner to prevent further injury. I discussed my observations and these clinical cases with pediatric nephrologist and co-investigator Dr. Cherry Mammen, a pediatric AKI expert, and he confirmed my initial literature review findings. Thus, we decided to conduct this study to better understand the scope of the problem and any associated risk factors. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease / 13.03.2017 Interview with: Hon-Yen Wu, MD, PhD, on behalf of all authors Attending Physician and Assistant Professor, Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, New Taipei City, Taiwan. Assistant Professor, Institute of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. Assistant Professor, National Taiwan University Hospital and College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. Assistant Professor, School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan. What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The effect of intensive blood pressure (BP) control in nondiabetic patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) has long been a topic of debate. We summarized the published information comparing intensive BP control (< 130/80 mmHg) with standard BP control (< 140/90 mmHg) on major renal outcomes in CKD patients without diabetes. We pooled data from 9 randomized clinical trials with more than 8000 patients and over 800 events of kidney disease progression. We found that targeting blood pressure below the current standard did not provide additional benefit for renal outcomes compared with standard BP control, but may benefit nonblack patients or those with heavy proteinuria. What should readers take away from your report? Response: For the optimal blood pressure target in CKD patients without diabetes, an individually tailored treatment rather than a general rule to control hypertension is suggested. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Genetic Research, Kidney Disease, Nature, Race/Ethnic Diversity, University of Pennsylvania / 07.03.2017 Interview with: Katalin Susztak MD, PhD Associate Professor of Medicine Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies showed an association between genetic variants in the APOL1 gene and kidney disease development, but it has not been confidently shown that this genetic variant is actually causal for kidney disease. For this reason we developed a mouse model that recapitulates the human phenotype. (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, JAMA, Kidney Disease / 31.01.2017 Interview with: Geoffrey A. Block, MD Director of Research at Denver Nephrology Denver, Colorado What is the background for this study? Response: Secondary hyperparathyroidism is a chronic and progressive disorder characterized by elevations in parathyroid hormone (PTH). It is seen in most patients with advanced chronic kidney disease and has been associated with a number of important adverse health effects such as bone pain, fracture, premature cardiovascular disease, abnormal heart enlargement, pathologic calcium accumulation in blood vessels and tissues and premature death. Currently there are several classes of drugs used to treat high PTH but each are associated with challenging side effects which limit their effectiveness. Active vitamin D compounds are effective in lowering PTH but do so at the expense of causing elevations in other minerals such as calcium and phosphorus which are felt to be harmful. An oral drug known as cinacalcet (Sensipar®) is in the class of medicine known as ‘calcimimetics’ and reduces PTH and simultaneously reduces calcium and phosphorus however it must be taken daily due to its short half-life and is commonly associated with nausea when first initiated or the dose is increased. Clinical trials with cinacalcet are suggestive though not conclusive of a beneficial effect on improving cardiovascular events and prolonging life. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cost of Health Care, Kidney Disease / 23.01.2017 Interview with: Talar W. Markossian PhD MPH Assistant Professor of Health Policy Loyola University Chicago 2160 S. First Ave, CTRE 554 Maywood, IL 60153 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Approximately 10% of U.S. adults currently have non-dialysis dependent chronic kidney disease (CKD), while dialysis dependent CKD accounts for only 0.5% of the U.S. population. The escalation in healthcare expenditures associated with CKD starts prior to requirement for dialysis, and treatment costs escalate as non-dialysis dependent CKD progresses. We examined the total healthcare expenditures including out-of-pocket costs for non-dialysis dependent chronic kidney disease and compared these expenditures with those incurred for cancer and stroke in the U.S. adult population. After adjusting for demographics and comorbidities, the adjusted difference in total direct healthcare expenditures was $4746 (95% CI $1775-$7718) for CKD, $8608 (95% CI $6167-$11,049) for cancer and $5992 (95% CI $4208-$7775) for stroke vs. group without CKD, cancer or stroke. Adjusted difference in out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures was highest for adults with CKD ($760; 95% CI 0-$1745) and was larger than difference noted for cancer ($419; 95% CI 158–679) or stroke ($246; 95% CI 87–406) relative to group without CKD, cancer or stroke. (more…)
Anemia, Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Pharmacology, Stanford / 16.01.2017 Interview with: Dr. Glenn M. Chertow, MD Professor Medicine, Nephrology Stanford University School of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Iron deficiency is common in persons with moderate to advanced (non-dialysis-dependent) chronic kidney disease (CKD), for a variety of reasons. Conventional iron supplements tend to be poorly tolerated and of limited effectiveness. In earlier studies of patients treated with ferric citrate for its effect as a phosphate binder, we saw increases in transferrin saturation and ferritin (markers of iron stores) and hemoglobin and hematocrit (the “blood count”). Therefore, we thought we should test the safety and efficacy of ferric citrate specifically for the treatment of iron deficiency anemia (IDA). With respect to the key findings, more than half (52%) of patients treated with ferric citrate experienced a sizeable (>=1 g/dL) increase in hemoglobin over the 16-week study period compared to fewer than one in five (19%) patients treated with placebo. Rates of adverse events (“side effects”) were similar to placebo; diarrhea in some patients and constipation in others were the most common. There were also favorable effects of ferric citrate on laboratory metrics of bone and mineral metabolism. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Kidney Disease, Pediatrics / 05.01.2017 Interview with: Jonathan Slaughter, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Center for Perinatal Research Nationwide Children's Hospital/The Ohio State University Columbus, OH 43205 What are the main findings? Response: The ductus arteriosus, a fetal blood vessel that limits blood flow through the lungs, normally closes shortly after birth. However, the ductus often remains open in premature infants, leading to patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). Infants with PDA are more likely to die or develop bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), the major chronic lung disease of preterm infants. Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID) treatment has been shown to close PDAs in preterm infants and NSAID treatment of PDA is common. However, it has never been shown that PDA closure with NSAIDs leads to decreased mortality or improved long-term respiratory outcomes. NSAID closure of PDA has become increasingly controversial in recent years since NSAID treatment has been associated with acute renal injury. Also, these medications are expensive, with the usual three-dose treatment course costing well over $1000 per patient. Due to these controversies, the likelihood of a preterm infant with PDA being treated with NSAIDs varies by clinician and institution and has decreased over time. Meta-analyses of randomized trials that investigated NSAID (indomethacin and/or ibuprofen) treatment for PDA closure in preterm infants did not show a benefit. However, they were principally designed only to study whether the ductus itself closed following treatment and not to determine if there was an improvement in mortality risk or in respiratory outcomes following NSAID treatment. Given the difficulty of conducting randomized trials in preterm infants and the urgent need for practicing clinician's to know whether treatment of PDA in all preterm infants is beneficial, we used a study design that incorporated the naturally occurring practice variation in NSAID treatment for PDA as a mechanism to reduce the risk of biases that are commonly found in non-randomized investigations. This is based on the premise that if NSAID treatment for PDA in preterm infants is truly effective, we should expect to see improved mortality and respiratory outcomes in instances when clinician preference-based NSAID administration rates are higher. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Neurology / 19.12.2016 Interview with: Kay Deckers, MSc PhD student School for Mental Health and Neuroscience Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology Maastricht University The Netherlands What is the background for this study? Response: In an earlier review (, we found that renal dysfunction was one the new candidate risk factors of dementia and needed further investigation. What are the main findings? Response: Albuminuria is associated with an increased risk of developing cognitive impairment or dementia. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Kidney Disease / 30.11.2016 Interview with: Georg Schlieper, MD MVZ DaVita Rhein-Ruhr Duesseldorf, Germany What is the background for this study? Response: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization in hemodialysis patients is associated with higher risk for systemic infection. Recent hospitalization and temporary dialysis access are known risk factors for MRSA colonization. Whether MRSA colonization rates in hospital-based dialysis centers differ from separate dialysis centers is unknown. Data on MRSA decolonization strategies in hemodialysis patients are scarce. (more…)
Anemia, Author Interviews, Kidney Disease / 30.11.2016 Interview with: Dorota Drozdz M.D., Ph.D Jagiellonian University Kraków Response: In Poland and Portugal we use EPO beta for anemia treatment. Our interest was to find differences in clinical patterns taking in consideration that both countries are adherent to KDIGO recommendations an guidelines. We found that in both countries the mean hemoglobin (Hb) level and percentage of patients in target Hb level (10-12 g/dl on ESA treatment) are the same, but the approaches were different – in Poland the ESA dose was statistically lower than in Portugal and iron dose was statistically higher than in Portugal. Most other lab tests results were similar. Future secondary outcomes analysis should answer the question, which method is safer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Lancet, Transplantation / 28.11.2016 Interview with: Prof. Dr. med. Christian Hugo Head, Division of Nephrology Medical Clinic III Universitätsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus an der Technischen Universität Dresden Dresden What is the background for this study? Response: At the end of 2007, the harmony trial was designed predominantly based on the one year results of the ELITE-Symphony trial, demonstrating that low dose tacrolimus, mycophenolate mofetile, and steroids together with monoclonal interleukin-2-receptor (CD 25 antigen) antibody induction therapy has superior efficacy in renal transplant patients compared to all other regimens (low or normal dose cyclosporine or sirolimus) tested. While these advantages of the low dose tacrolimus protocol were so convincing to become the new gold standard of immunosuppressive therapy within the next few years (see KDIGO guide lines for renal transplantation in 2009), the low dose tacrolimus treatment arm also demonstrated increased incidence rates regarding post-transplantation diabetes mellitus (PTDM, at that time called new onset of diabetes after transplantation - NODAT) compared to the low cyclosporine treatment arm. Previous studies had also demonstrated a detrimental association between NODAT and cardiovascular events and mortality, the leading cause of death in renal transplant recipients. Corticosteroid-free or rapid withdrawal regimens were relatively encouraging regarding influencing NODAT rates but only at the price of an increased rate of T cell mediated acute rejections. (more…)
Author Interviews, Johns Hopkins, Kidney Disease, Nutrition, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 21.11.2016 Interview with: Deidra C. Crews, MD, ScM, FASN, FACP Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Nephrology Associate Vice Chair for Diversity and Inclusion, Department of Medicine Director, Doctoral Diversity Program Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore MD 21224 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Studies suggest that dietary patterns influence risk of kidney function decline. Barriers may hinder urban African Americans' following healthful diets that could mitigate their increased risk of kidney function decline. In this study, we characterized contextual barriers to healthful eating among urban African Africans with hypertension and examined the association of these barriers to kidney function decline over 1 year. We examined the presence of healthy foods in neighborhood stores of study participants. We also assessed them for food insecurity (the inability to afford nutritionally adequate and safe foods), directly observed and documented the presence of fruits and vegetables in their homes, and examined their fruit and vegetable intake via questionnaire. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, UCSF / 21.11.2016

Tanushree Banerjee, PhD Research Specialist in the Department of Medicine Division of General Internal Medicine Interview with: Tanushree Banerjee, PhD Research Specialist in the Department of Medicine Division of General Internal Medicine UCSF What is the background for this study? Response: Acidosis is usually noted in advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) while it is relatively unexplored whether changes in the undetermined anions, as measured by anion gap occur earlier in the course of CKD. Consumption of animal-sourced protein is acid-inducing and therefore such diet presumably increases undetermined anions. Since higher dietary acid load is associated with progression of CKD, we wanted to explore whether the increase in undetermined anions in moderate CKD is associated with CKD progression. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Emergency Care, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease / 21.11.2016 Interview with: Paul E Ronksley, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Community Health Sciences Cumming School of Medicine University of Calgary Calgary Canada What is the background for this study? Response: Prior studies have observed high resource use among patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), which is related to the medical complexity of this patient population. However, there has been limited exploration of how patients with CKD use the emergency department (ED) and whether utilization is associated with disease severity. While the ED is essential for providing urgent or emergent care, identifying ways of improving ED efficiency and decreasing wait times has been recognized as a priority in multiple countries. Improving coordination and management of care for patients with multiple chronic conditions (the norm for CKD) in an outpatient setting may meet health care needs and ultimately improve patient experience and outcomes while reducing the burden currently placed on the ED. However, this requires an understanding of ED use among patients with CKD and the proportion of use that is amenable to outpatient care. Using a large population-based cohort we explored how rates of ED use vary by kidney disease severity and the proportion of these events that are potentially preventable by high quality ambulatory care. We identified all adults (≥18 years) with eGFR<60 mL/min/1.73m2 (including dialysis-dependent patients) in Alberta, Canada between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011. Patients with CKD were linked to administrative data to capture clinical characteristics and frequency of ED encounters, and followed until death or end of study (March 31, 2013). Within each CKD category we calculated adjusted rates of overall  emergency departmentt use, as well as rates of potentially preventable ED encounters (defined by 4 CKD-specific ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSCs); heart failure, hyperkalemia, volume overload, malignant hypertension). (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Kidney Disease / 21.11.2016 Interview with: Dr. Csaba P. Kovesdy Fred Hatch Professor of Medicine Director, Clinical Outcomes and Clinical Trials Program Division of Nephrology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center Nephrology Section Chief, Memphis VA Medical Center Memphis TN, 38163 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Many ESRD patients initiate dialysis in an inpatient setting. This practice is expensive, and carries potential risks (e.g. hospital associated infections, medication errors, etc.). There is very little information about the characteristics of patients who transition to ESRD (i.e. start dialysis) in an inpatient setting, and about their outcomes. We examined a cohort of >50,000 US veterans who started dialysis during 2007-2011, and found that about half of them performed their first treatment in an inpatient setting. Compared to patients starting dialysis as outpatients, those who transitioned in an inpatient setting had a significantly higher prevalence of comorbid conditions, and were much less likely to have received pre-dialysis nephrology care, or to have a mature AV fistula or AV graft at the first hemodialysis treatment. Mortality was significantly higher in the inpatient start group, but the differences were attenuated by adjustment for comorbid conditions and vascular access. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Kidney Disease, Nutrition / 20.11.2016 Interview with: Dr. Teodor G. Paunescu PhD Assistant Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School Boston What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Patients with kidney disease frequently report food aversion and poor dietary intake leading to malnutrition, a complication associated with high morbidity and mortality. However, there are no effective treatments currently available to address this complication, and the mechanisms underlying anorexia and food aversion in these patients remain unclear. Because of the critical role of olfaction in flavor appreciation and dietary intake, we decided to quantify olfactory (smelling) deficits in advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients. We found that patients with kidney disease have significant olfactory deficits that need objective assessments for accurate characterization. Our results also indicate that olfactory deficits likely attribute to nutritional impairment in patients with kidney disease. (more…)