Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Kidney Disease / 03.03.2015

Mallika L. Mendu, MD, MBA Division of Renal Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School Boston, MAMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mallika L. Mendu, MD, MBA Division of Renal Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School Boston, MA MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mendu: Chronic kidney disease affects a significant number of adults in the United States, approximately 13%, and is associated with significant morbidity, mortality and cost. We conducted a review of 1487 patients referred for initial evaluation of chronic kidney disease to two academic medical centers in Boston over a 3-year period, and examined how often laboratory and imaging tests were ordered and how often these tests affected diagnosis and/or management. The main finding was that a number of tests (renal ultrasound, paraprotein testing, serologic testing) were commonly ordered despite low diagnostic and management yield. Urine quantification and hemoglobin A1c testing had the highest diagnostic and management yield. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease / 28.02.2015

Dr. Simonetta Genovesi MD Department of Health Science University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza Italy Nephrology Unit San Gerardo Hospital, Monza, ItalyMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Simonetta Genovesi MD Department of Health Science University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza Italy Nephrology Unit San Gerardo Hospital, Monza, Italy MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?   Dr. Genovesi: The prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) on hemodialysis (HD) is high. The presence of atrial fibrillation increases the risk of thrombo-embolic stroke in the general population. The treatment of choice for reducing thrombo-embolic risk in AF patients is oral anticoagulant therapy (OAT) with warfarin. However, the use of warfarin in HD patients is controversial because of the high risk of bleeding and the fact that it is not demonstrated a clear protection against the risk of stroke in this population. The purpose of the study was to prospectively evaluate the effect of OAT on the risk of mortality, stroke and bleeding in HD population. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings?   Dr. Genovesi: In our hemodialysis population oral anticoagulant therapy does not increase the risk of total mortality, while antiplatelet agents are associated with an increased risk of death of about 70%. The continuous use of warfarin tends to be associated with improved survival as compared with individuals who discontinued the medication during the follow-up, but the incidence of thrombo-embolic events is not different in OAT subjects as compared with those who do not take it. Moreover, bleeding events are more frequent in patients taking warfarin, although the maintenance over time of an INR in the therapeutic range wards against the risk of bleeding. (more…)
Author Interviews, Geriatrics, Kidney Disease / 28.02.2015

Nisha Bansal MD MAS Assistant Professor Associate Program Director for Research Kidney Research Institute Division of Nephrology University of WashingtonMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nisha Bansal MD MAS Assistant Professor Associate Program Director for Research Kidney Research Institute Division of Nephrology University of Washington Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bansal: We pursued this study to develop a prediction equation for death among elderly patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), a high-risk patient population that is often difficult to manage given competing risks of end stage renal disease (ESRD) vs. death. In this paper, we developed and validated a simple prediction equation using variables that are readily available to all clinicians. (more…)
Author Interviews, Connective Tissue Disease, Emory, Kidney Disease, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 20.02.2015

Laura Plantinga, PhD Assistant Professor Division of Renal Medicine, Department of Medicine Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, GA 30322MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Laura Plantinga, PhD Assistant Professor Division of Renal Medicine, Department of Medicine Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, GA 30322 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Plantinga: Quality of care for end-stage renal disease (ESRD), which is treated with dialysis or kidney transplantation, is a high priority for the U.S. healthcare system, given universal coverage of these services. However, quality of ESRD care remains relatively unexplored in lupus patients, who have multiple providers and may have greater access to care. We found that, overall, nearly three-quarters of U.S. ESRD patients with lupus had pre-ESRD nephrology care and about 20% of lupus patients on dialysis were waitlisted for kidney transplant per year; however, fewer than one-quarter of those who started on dialysis had a permanent vascular access in place, which is associated with better outcomes than a temporary catheter. Furthermore, patients who were black or Hispanic were nearly a third less likely to have pre-ESRD care and were also less likely to be placed on the kidney transplant waitlist in the first year of dialysis than white patients. Having Medicaid or no insurance at the start of ESRD were both associated with lower likelihood of quality ESRD care by all measures, despite universal Medicare coverage after the start of ESRD. While there was geographic variation in quality of ESRD care, patterns were not consistent across quality measures. (more…)
HIV, Kidney Disease, NEJM, Transplantation / 11.02.2015

Elmi Muller, M.B., Ch.B., M.Med. University of Cape Town–Surgery Groote Schuur Hospital Observatory Cape Town Cape Town, South Africa MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elmi Muller, M.B., Ch.B., M.Med. University of Cape Town–Surgery Groote Schuur Hospital Observatory Cape Town Cape Town, South Africa Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Muller: South Africa currently offers dialysis and transplantation as a treatment option for patients with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). However, dialysis is not freely available to everyone, but severely limited and only available to a selected group of patients. This means that patients get assessed when they present with ESRD and they only get accepted onto a dialysis programme if they fulfill certain criteria. These criteria are criteria to assess the patient’s medical fitness in general as well as social criteria to assess whether the patient will be compliant with follow-up.  In most state hospitals, patients will only be accepted onto a dialysis program if they are also fit to receive a transplant in the long run.  The idea is that dialysis programs should naturally feed into transplant programs. Therefore a patient who is not a suitable transplant candidate will normally be turned down for dialysis. In 2008, when the HIV positive-to-positive program started, patients with ESRD and HIV would be turned down for dialysis. The reason was that they were seen as unfit for transplantation and therefore not suitable dialysis patients. This meant that anybody with HIV and ESRD was doomed to die. This situation remained unchallenged for a number of years, especially as the rollout of antiretroviral therapy was quite slow in the state sector. Because of very high HIV rates in the country, more and more HIV positive brain-dead donors presented to the Groote Schuur Hospital Transplant team. These donors were mostly braindead people who were worked up for organ donation (after consent was obtained from the family) and who then turned out to be HIV positive. In 2008 it made sense to try and marry this supply of donors with the group of HIV positive patients without any treatment options in the country. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Cleveland Clinic, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease / 05.02.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: W. H .Wilson Tang, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.H.A. Professor in Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH 44195MedicalResearch.com Interview with: W. H .Wilson Tang, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.H.A. Professor in Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH 44195.   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Tang: Our group has previously demonstrated that TMAO is linked to future cardiac risks in both humans and in animal models.  We now show that long-term exposure to higher levels of TMAO promotes renal functional impairment and fibrosis in animal studies.  We also show that in humans, as the kidneys lose function, TMAO isn’t eliminated as easily, and their blood levels further rise, thereby increasing cardiovascular and kidney disease risks further.  This newly discovered TMAO link offers further insight into the relationship between cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease, Rheumatology / 27.01.2015

Dr Gomez-Puerta MD, PhD, MPH Division of Rheumatology, Immunology, and Allergy; Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA Medical Research Interview Dr Gomez-Puerta MD, PhD, MPH Division of Rheumatology, Immunology, and Allergy; Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Gomez-Puerta: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease of unknown etiology which can cause multiorgan system damage and which disproportionately affects women and non- Caucasian minorities. Up to 60% of SLE patients develop renal disease, lupus nephritis (LN), and of these, approximately one fifth progress to end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The risk of cardiovascular (CV) events and mortality is higher in patients with ESRD and in particular in patients suffering SLE. However, information about CV outcomes and mortality is limited in patients with LN associated ESRD. We observed important variation in cardiovascular outcomes and mortality by race and ethnicity among lupus nephritis related ESRD patients. After adjusting for multiple demographic and clinical factors and accounting for the competing risk of kidney transplantation and loss to follow-up, our results illustrate for the first time that Asian (vs. White) and Hispanic (vs. non-Hispanic) lupus nephritis related ESRD patients have lower mortality risks. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cleveland Clinic, Kidney Disease, Social Issues / 21.01.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Suma Prakash MD, MSc, FRCPC Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology Case Western Reserve University MetroHealth Medical Center Cleveland, Ohio Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Prakash: Patients with advanced chronic kidney disease are often faced with difficult decisions of having to choose between options to replace their kidney function. Many patients may not be ready to make treatment decisions since most people don’t want to need a chronic medical treatment. The behavioural stage of change model originally used to help people with smoking cessation has been used to help patients make decisions about self-care with diabetes and undergo cancer screening. It has not been studied in patients with chronic kidney disease. As patients progress through the stages, they are more ready to make decisions. Focusing on better understanding the decision making process from patients’ perspectives allows us as medical professionals to help patients make timely decision about their options. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, NEJM / 19.01.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David K. Packham, M.B., B.S., M.D Royal Melbourne Hospital Melbourne Renal Research Group VIC 3073, Australia, Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Packham:  ZS-9 represents a new mechanism of action for addressing hyperkalemia. Unlike traditional nonspecific organic polymer cationexchangers, ZS-9 is a non-absorbed, inorganic crystalline potassium-selective cation exchanger that traps excess potassium in the gastrointestinal tract. It has been evaluated in three prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies with over 1100 patients to date, representing the largest ever clinical development program for hyperkalemia. ZS-003 was the first of two pivotal Phase 3 studies that evaluated the safety and efficacy of ZS-9 in patients with hyperkalemia. In ZS-003, treatment of patients with an oral suspension of ZS-9 (2.5, 5, or 10 grams, three times a day) resulted in statistically significant and clinically meaningful reductions in serum potassium, compared with placebo, during the “acute phase” (first 48 hours), with 99 percent of patients achieving normal potassium levels with the highest 10 gram dose. During the next 12 days of the trial (the “maintenance phase”), ZS-9 (5 or 10 grams) given once daily could maintain the corrected potassium levels achieved during the acute phase. In contrast, patients who were randomized back to placebo after achieving normal potassium reverted back to hyperkalemia. The tolerability profile has been favorable, with adverse event rates from ZS-9 similar to that of placebo. (more…)
Annals Thoracic Surgery, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Kidney Disease / 15.01.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professeur Sidney Chocron Chef de Service Chirurgie Thoracique et Cardio-Vasculaire CHU de Besançon - Hôpital Jean Minjoz BESANCON Cedex Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Chocron: Acute kidney injury (AKI) is one of the most frequent complications after cardiac surgery.There is a time delay between the onset of renal impairment and the resulting telltale increase in blood creatinine levels. Recent studies have underlined the promising properties of Neutrophil Gelatinase-Associated Lipocalin (NGAL). NGAL values early after surgery could predict the duration and severity of Acute Kidney Injury. In addition, NGAL can independently predict deteriorating renal function and could therefore be useful even in the context of pre-existing renal failure. We aimed to assess the predictive ability of plasma NGAL levels to identify deteriorations in renal function after cardiac surgery in patients with pre-existing renal failure. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Prof. Chocron: One hundred sixty six patients with pre-operative renal failure i.e pre-operative creatinine clearance ≤60 mL/min/1.73m2 according to the Cockcroft Gault formula, were included in the study. The threshold NGAL values at 6 hours after operation, as determined by ROC curve analysis was 155 ng/mL with a sensitivity of 79% and a specificity of 58%. By multivariate analysis at 6 hours, a history of hypertension (OR=3.2 [1.2 - 8.9]), occurrence of at least 1 post-operative complication (OR=4.5 [1.3 - 15]), and an NGAL value above 155 ng/mL (OR=7.1 [2.7 - 18]) were shown to be independent predictors of the occurrence of post-operative AKI. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Kidney Disease / 12.01.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: James Flory MD, MSCE Division of Endocrinology and Department of Healthcare Policy and Research Weill Cornell Medical College, NY NY Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Flory: Metformin is the first-line drug for type 2 diabetes, with much better evidence for safety and improved clinical outcomes than any alternative. The one major safety concern about metformin is the fear that it can cause lactic acidosis, which led to a Food and Drug Administration black box warning against using metformin in patients with even a modest degree of renal impairment. These fears and warnings were based on serious problems with an older drug in the same class, not on experiences with metformin itself, and over the past 20 years it has become clear that the risk of lactic acidosis with metformin is extremely low, and that this warning against the use of the drug in mild renal failure is overly strict. (Dr. Lipska and colleagues published a superb review of this issue a few years back: Diabetes Care June 2011 vol. 34 no. 6 1431-1437) This is important from a public health perspective because so many patients with diabetes have mild to moderate kidney disease, and we were concerned that the FDA warning was preventing the use of metformin in these patients. Our study was intended to estimate how many patients who would benefit from metformin are not taking it because they have mild kidney disease. We found that rates of metformin use are much lower in patients with mild kidney disease – just the population where the FDA warning discourages use, but modern data show that metformin is safe. In all, at least 1 million patients with type 2 diabetes who would benefit from metformin appear not to be taking it because clinicians are following the FDA warning and being too conservative. (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, Johns Hopkins, Kidney Disease / 06.01.2015

Alison G Abraham PhD Associate Scientist Department of Epidemiology Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alison G Abraham PhD Associate Scientist Department of Epidemiology Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Medical Research: What was the motivation for this study? Dr. Abraham: HIV-infected individuals are at higher risk for kidney dysfunction compared to the general population.  Prior to effective antiretroviral therapy, very aggressive forms of kidney disease were described primarily among black HIV-infected individuals.  While effective therapy and increasing viral suppression rates have made HIV-associated nephropathy rare, some of these same drugs have nephrotoxic effects.  In addition, the reduction in AIDS and mortality has led to HIV-infected individuals living long enough to experience age-related chronic diseases, which are also risk factors for kidney disease and end-stage renal disease.  Thus we wanted to know how these competing forces were affecting end-stage renal disease risk in the well-treated HIV-infected North American population over time.  Are we seeing more ESRD as a result of nephrotoxic drugs and chronic disease, or less ESRD as a result of better viral suppression and large reductions in HIV-associated nephropathy? Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Abraham: We found that end stage renal disease rates have been steadily falling over the past 10 years coincident with notable improvements in viral suppression prevalence.  However a large racial discrepancy in ESRD risk has persisted even though HIV-associated nephropathy cases are now rare.  While ESRD cases among blacks in our study tended to have higher viral loads and lower CD4 counts compared to non-black ESRD cases, suggesting less effective HIV treatment, we found that the racial discrepancy in ESRD risk persisted even among the well-suppressed subset, i.e. those who had undetectable viral loads for 90% of their follow-up time. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Kidney Disease, University of Pittsburgh / 22.12.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Florentina E. Sileanu BS Center for Critical Care Nephrology and Clinical Research, Investigation, and Systems Modeling of Acute Illness Center Departments of Critical Care Medicine and Department of Biostatistics, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and Dr. John A. Kellum, MD, MCCM Professor of Medicine, Bioengineering and Clinical & Translational Science Vice Chair for Research Center for Critical Care Nephrology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Pittsburgh, PA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) affects millions of Americans each year resulting in increased short and long-term complications including need for dialysis and death. Many trials recruiting subjects at risk for AKI have focused on those with other (e.g. cardiovascular and respiratory) organ failures because these patients are at highest for AKI. However, patients without these conditions might not be at low-risk for AKI. We explored whether Acute Kidney Injury occurring as a single organ failure or occurring before other organ failures would be associated with the same outcomes as in sicker patients. Using a large, academic medical center database, with records from July 2000 through October 2008, we identified a "low-risk" cohort as patients without cardiovascular and respiratory organ failures defined as not receiving vasopressor support or mechanical ventilation within the first 24 hours of ICU admission. We were able to show that low-risk patients have a substantial likelihood of developing AKI and that the relative impact on mortality of AKI is actually greater for low-risk patients (OR, 2.99; 95% 2.62-3.41) than for high-risk patients (OR, 1.19; 95% 1.09-1.3). (more…)
Heart Disease, Kidney Disease, Stem Cells / 20.12.2014

Madhav Swaminathan, MBBS, MD, FASE, FAHA Associate Professor with Tenure Clinical Director, Division of Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology & Critical Care Medicine Department of Anesthesiology Duke University Health System Durham, NC 27710MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Madhav Swaminathan, MBBS, MD, FASE, FAHA Associate Professor with Tenure Clinical Director, Division of Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology & Critical Care Medicine Department of Anesthesiology Duke University Health System Durham, NC 27710 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Swaminathan: The background is the need for salvage therapies for acute kidney injury (AKI,) which is a common complication in hospitalized patients. It is particularly a problem in the postoperative period after cardiac surgery. Preventive strategies have not worked well for decades. Hence the focus on strategies that target kidney recovery. Mesenchymal stem cells have been shown to be useful in enhancing kidney recovery in pre-clinical trials. We therefore hypothesized that administration of human Mesenchymal stem cells (AC607, Allocure Inc, Burlington, MA) to patients with established post-cardiac surgery AKI would result in a shorter time to kidney recovery. We conducted a phase 2, double blinded, placebo controlled, randomized clinical trial to test our hypothesis. Unfortunately we could not confirm the hypothesis and there were no significant differences in time to kidney recovery among patients that received AC607 versus placebo in 156 randomized cardiac surgery subjects. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease / 11.12.2014

Anders Nissen Bonde MBs Department of Cardiology Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, Gentofte, Denmark MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anders Nissen Bonde MBs Department of Cardiology Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, Gentofte, Denmark Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Patients with severe chronic kidney disease have been excluded from randomized trials of antithrombotic therapy in atrial fibrillation.They represent a very fragile group as they are both at increased risk of stroke/thromboembolism and major bleedings, and previous observational studies have had conflicting conclusions regarding the safety and benefits of the treatment. A previous study from our department reported both increased risk of bleeding and reduced risk of stroke with warfarin. We wanted to assess the net clinical benefit of aspirin and warfarin in these patients, balancing stroke and major bleeding associated with the treatment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Vanderbilt / 09.12.2014

Dr. Julia Lewis, MD, Lead Investigator Nephrologist and Professor of Medicine Vanderbilt University Medical CenterMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Julia Lewis, MD, Lead Investigator Nephrologist and Professor of Medicine Vanderbilt University Medical Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Lewis: The 48-week Open Label Extension (OLE) study for Auryxia™ (ferric citrate) was conducted to determine long term safety following the Phase 3 52-week active-control period. The study also evaluated changes in serum phosphorus, transferrin saturation (TSAT), serum ferritin, hemoglobin, hematocrit and additional parameters, as well as intravenous (IV) iron and erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) usage. In the OLE study, Auryxia demonstrated long-term safety in dialysis-dependent chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients. The results were consistent with those seen in the published pivotal Phase 3 trial. The study demonstrated that the adverse events (AE’s) profile of Auryxia was similar to that seen in the Phase 3 52-week active-control period. AEs occurred in 142 patients treated with Auryxia. They were primarily non-serious gastrointestinal (GI) - related AE’s, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and constipation. Serious adverse events occurred in 75 patients, though none were related to Auryxia. In addition, there were no clinically or statistically significant differences in liver enzymes or aluminum levels observed from baseline to the end of the 48 weeks. Similar to the original trial, we witnessed excellent phosphorus control with the drug, along with an increase and then a plateau in serum ferritin and TSAT levels with Auryxia. The plateauing of serum ferritin and TSAT further supports iron absorption is highly regulated by the gastrointestinal track as seen in the 52-week active control period. This suggests that the body absorbs iron as needed for effective erythropoiesis. Additionally, iron store increases from ferric citrate resulted in, by the end of the extension study, 85% of subjects not using any IV iron. We presented this data at the 2014 American Society of Nephrology Meeting. The abstract can be found online at www.asn-online.org. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Lipids / 01.12.2014

Thomas Weichhart, PhD Associate Professor, Medical University of Vienna Institute of Medical Genetics Vienna AustriaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Thomas Weichhart, PhD Associate Professor, Medical University of Vienna Institute of Medical Genetics Vienna Austria Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr.  Weichhart: Impairment of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) function has been associated with cardiovascular events in patients with kidney failure on hemodialysis. The protein composition of HDLs is altered in these patients presumably compromising the cardioprotective effects of HDLs. In an earlier study we found that two proteins in particular, namely Serum Amyloid A (SAA) and Surfactant Protein B (SP-B), are significantly raised in the HDL of dialysis patients, and these also contribute towards HDL losing its protective effect. In the current study we have now developed an novel test that can quickly and directly measure the SAA and SP-B bound to HDL. (more…)
Author Interviews, General Medicine, Heart Disease, JAMA, Kidney Disease / 30.11.2014

Giovanni Landoni, M.D. Head of Research,Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Associate Professor at Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, MilanMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Giovanni Landoni, M.D. Head of Research,Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Associate Professor at Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Landoni: The prevention and treatment of acute kidney injury after cardiac surgery is a major therapeutic goal, but no effective agents have yet been identified. Meta-analyses suggested that fenoldopam might be effective. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Landoni: We found that in cardiac surgery patients with early acute kidney injury (defined as a ≥50% increase of serum creatinine from baseline or oliguria for ≥6 hours), fenoldopam had no impact on the need for renal replacement therapy or 30-day mortality, while increasing the rate of hypotension. (more…)
Exercise - Fitness, Kidney Disease / 20.11.2014

Prof. Francesca Mallamaci Professor of Nephrology Head of the Hypertension Unit at the Department of Nephro-Urology, CNR-IBIM Research on Clinical Epidemiology and Pathophysiology of Renal Diseases and Hypertension, Reggio Calabria, ItalyMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Francesca Mallamaci Professor of Nephrology Head of the Hypertension Unit at the Department of Nephro-Urology, CNR-IBIM Research on Clinical Epidemiology and Pathophysiology of Renal Diseases and Hypertension, Reggio Calabria, Italy Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mallamaci: It is well known that physical activity is beneficial both in normal individuals and in patients with heart failure which represent a high risk category of patients. We have scanty information about physical activity in dialysis patients. So the aim of our study was to test the effectiveness of a low-intensity, easy to implement, home exercise program on physical performance in about 300 dialysis patients in a multicenter, randomized, controlled clinical trial (EXCITE, ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01255969). What we found in our study was that dialysis patients who performed exercise improved their physical performance and this was documented by 2 well known and validated performance tests such as the Six Minute Walking Test and the Sit-to-stand-to sit test. We found also that after 2 year follow-up dialysis patients who were in the active exercise arm had a lower rate of hospitalization and a trend to a better survival, compared to dialysis patients in the control arm of the study. (more…)
Endocrinology, Kidney Disease, Vitamin D / 19.11.2014

Stuart M. Sprague, DO, FACP, FASN, FNKF Chairperson, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension NorthShore University HealthSystem Evanston, Illinois 60201MedicalResearch.com Interview with:with Stuart M. Sprague, DO, FACP, FASN, FNKF Chairperson, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension NorthShore University HealthSystem Evanston, Illinois 60201 Medical Research: Congratulations, Dr. Sprague, on your presentation of another successful phase 3 clinical trial program at the recently concluded Annual Meeting of the American Society of Nephrology. Your presentation unveiled a new vitamin D repletion therapy that effectively controls secondary hyperparathyroidism in chronic kidney disease. Can you give us a little background for the presented studies? Dr. Sprague: Thanks! Vitamin D insufficiency is a big problem in chronic kidney decease (or CKD): it afflicts more than 20 million adults in the United States who have stages 1 through 4 CKD. Its prevalence increases with CKD severity and it drives secondary hyperparathyroidism. The studies which I presented evaluated a novel therapy to treat secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT) arising from vitamin D insufficiency in patients diagnosed with stage 3 or 4 CKD. This new therapy is a modified-release formulation of calcifediol. Medical Research: Can you tell us more about vitamin D insufficiency? Dr. Sprague: Vitamin D insufficiency is a condition in which the body has low vitamin D stores. It is characterized by inadequate blood levels of the vitamin D, known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D. An estimated 70-90% of CKD patients have vitamin D insufficiency, which can lead to SHPT and resultant debilitating bone diseases. Vitamin D insufficiency has also been associated with increased mortality in CKD. (more…)
Kidney Disease / 16.11.2014

Anu Wadhwa, M.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine Division of Nephrology and Hypertension Loyola University Medical Center/ Hines VA Hospital Maywood, IL-60153MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anu Wadhwa, M.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine Division of Nephrology and Hypertension Loyola University Medical Center/ Hines VA Hospital Maywood, IL-60153 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Wadhwa: Patients with end stage renal disease rely on dialysis treatments to survive. Hence this population is very vulnerable during emergencies or disaster situations. We believe that patient education on an individual level is the cornerstone of a successful disaster plan. In this quality improvement study, we assessed disaster preparedness in our dialysis patients and evaluated multidisciplinary approach to disseminate this information. Multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, dieticians and social workers reviewed preparedness-relevant topics with the patients. Patients were provided purple cards (created by KCER) with emergency information to carry with them at all times. A simple yes/no questionnaire asking disaster preparedness relevant questions was given to the patients before and after this education was provided. Disaster preparedness was defined as perceived preparedness (survey question) and a positive response to at least three key questions-having a plan they have had discussed with a family member or dialysis unit, knowledge of backup dialysis facility and familiarity with emergency diet plan. (more…)
Kidney Disease, Transplantation / 15.11.2014

Anthony Bleyer, Jr.  Wake Forest University Class of 2015, Economics  President, Club Sports Union  Senior Captain, Wake Forest Men's Ultimate MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anthony Bleyer, Jr.  Wake Forest University Class of 2015, Economics President, Club Sports Union Senior Captain, Wake Forest Men's Ultimate Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are over 100,000 individuals waiting for a kidney transplant, but each year only approximately 6,000 individuals have living donors who donate them a kidney; the rest of the individuals must remain on dialysis until they receive a kidney from an individual who has died and is a kidney donor.  A major limiting factor for kidney donation is that many individuals are not healthy enough to donate a kidney because they have  excessive obesity, diabetes mellitus, blood pressure that is too high, or they have other health conditions.  While it was known that obesity, hypertension, and other health conditions are contraindications to kidney transplant, there was no data about what percentage of the US population would be able to donate a kidney.  To study this, we (a team of kidney doctors and researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC) analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey. This study is a population-based sample that is representative of the US population. Based on data from this study, we determined that 55.2% of the U.S. population would not have met eligibility criteria for kidney donation, often due to preventable health conditions.  19.2% of the population would have been unable to donate due to hypertension, 15% due to obesity, 11.6% due to excessive alcohol intake, and 11.5% due to diabetes.  60.1% of individuals with an adjusted family household income (AFHI) <$35,000 did not meet eligibility criteria vs. 49.3% for an AFHI > $100,000.   If one considers non-US citizenship and a family income below the poverty threshold as exclusion criteria, 68.5% of the US population would be unable to donate. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Pharmacology / 14.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Naoka Murakami MD PhD Mount Sinai Beth Israel Department of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background of the study? What are the main findings?  Dr. Murakami: Dialysis patients live in a complex sociomedical situation and are highly dependent on technologies to sustain their lives; such as transportation, electricity and water for the dialysis apparatus. Interruption of this infrastructure by a natural disaster can result in devastating outcomes. During triage of patients arriving at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in the immediate aftermath of hurricane Sandy, we observed that many dialysis patients did not know about their medications, their comorbid conditions nor their dialysis prescriptions. Therefore we conducted a cross-sectional follow-up study of 357 hemodialysis patients in five dialysis units in lower Manhattan, New York. Using checklists prepared by the National Kidney Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security, we found that 26.3% subjects missed dialysis sessions and 66.1% received dialysis at non-regular dialysis unit(s). We observed that the distribution of a “Dialysis emergency packet” significantly improved retention of medical records at home. Analysis showed that dialysis-specific preparedness, racial ethnicity (non-African American, Hispanic or Caucasian), reception of dialysis in affiliated units, and older age, were associated with a significant reduction in missed dialyses. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease / 06.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ning Tan, MD, PHD Senior Consultant Cardiologist. Department of Cardiology Guangdong Cardiovascular Institute Guangdong General Hospital Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences Guangzhou, Guangdong, China Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Tan: In this study, we evaluated whether Low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is an independent risk factor of contrast-induced acute kidney injury (CI-AKI) in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). We prospectively enrolled 3236 consecutive patients undergoing PCI in our hospital and demonstrated that LDL-C is significantly and independently associated with CI-AKI in patients undergoing PCI. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease / 13.10.2014

Dr Jelena Kornej Department of Electrophysiology Heart Center Leipzig Leipzig Germany;MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Jelena Kornej Department of Electrophysiology Heart Center Leipzig Leipzig Germany; Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Komej: Both atrial fibrillation (AF) and renal impairment are known to coexist and associated with increased morbidity and mortality. However, there is only limited data on changes of renal function after AF catheter ablation and predictors thereof. This is the largest study analyzing the effects of atrial fibrillation catheter ablation on renal function and changes thereof in a contemporary population during mid-term follow-up. We found that lower baseline eGFR was associated with higher CHADS2 and CHA2DS2-VASc scores and that both scores were independently associated with eGFR changes after atrial fibrillation catheter ablation as were atrial fibrillation recurrences. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Kidney Disease / 30.09.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview wth: Mei-Ju Ko, MD, PhD Department of Dermatology, Taipei City Hospital Department of Dermatology, National Taiwan University Hospital and National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan. Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Ko: In this study, not only did we find that serum levels of interleukin (IL)-31 were significantly higher in hemodialysis patients with pruritus symptoms, but we also demonstrated a positive exposure-response relationship between IL-31 levels and visual analog scale (VAS) scores of pruritus intensity. We also noted an inverse correlation between the severity of pruritus and the dialysis dose assessed by Kt/V. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Kidney Disease / 27.09.2014

Pietro Manuel Ferraro, MD PhD Candidate Division of Nephrology Catholic University of the Sacred Heart Rome ItalyMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pietro Manuel Ferraro, MD PhD Candidate Division of Nephrology Catholic University of the Sacred Heart Rome Italy Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Ferraro: We analyzed the association between physical activity and energy intake and the risk of developing kidney stones in three large cohorts of U.S. health professionals. The 215,133 participants included did not have any history of kidney stones when follow-up began. During 20 years of follow-up, 5,355 of them developed a kidney stone. Initially, we found that participants with higher physical activity levels had a reduced risk of developing stones in two of the three cohorts. However, after accounting for a number of factors that could potentially confound the association such as age, body mass index and dietary intake, the association was no longer significant. Similarly, energy intake was not associated with a reduced risk of developing kidney stones. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, General Medicine, JAMA, Kidney Disease / 22.09.2014

Dr. Csaba P. Kovesdy, MD Professor of Medicine University of Tennessee Health Science Center Chief of Nephrology Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical CentMedicalResearch.com: Interview Invitation Dr. Csaba P. Kovesdy, MD Professor of Medicine University of Tennessee Health Science Center Chief of Nephrology Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Kovesdy: We applied the structure of a clinical trial of hypertension management to our cohort of >600,000 patients with prevalent Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). We first identified patients with baseline uncontrolled hypertension (using the definition applied by the SPRINT trial), then isolated the ones who had a decline in their baseline systolic blood pressure to two different levels (<120 and 120-139 mmHg) in response to a concomitant increase in prescribed antihypertensives, similar to what would happen in a trial examining two different systolic blood pressure targets. We then matched patients in the two groups to end up with identical baseline characteristics, similar to a randomized trial. When we examined the all-cause mortality of these two groups, we found that the group with follow-up systolic blood pressure of <120 had a 70% higher mortality. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Neurology, Stroke / 21.08.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Chia-Huang Kao From the Graduate Institute of Clinical Medical Science Department of Radiation Oncology and Nuclear Medicine and PET Center Graduate Institute of Clinical Medical Science China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan. Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Prof. Kao: Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are at high risk for hypoglycemia; several factors are reported to contribute to hypoglycemia in these patients. However, most previous studies were limited by the relatively small number of patients with CKD included in the study by the exclusion of cases with CKD. In the present study, the incidence rate of hypoglycemia in patients with CKD was 4.5%, which is approximately twice the value noted in previous reports and multivariate analysis revealed a 2.53-fold increase in the risk of death for CKD patients with hypoglycemia after adjusting for related confounding factors including hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and antidiabetic drugs. (more…)