Heavy Marijuana Use May Harm Kidneys, But More Study Needed

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Julie H. Ishida MD Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine San Francisco and San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center University of California

Dr. Ishida

Dr. Julie H. Ishida MD
Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine
San Francisco and San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center
University of California

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Marijuana is becoming increasingly accepted in the United States, and animal studies suggest that marijuana could affect kidney function. However, data in humans are limited to case reports of acute kidney injury related to synthetic cannabinoid use and small cohort studies of relatively short duration.

Among 3,765 participants with normal kidney function in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults or CARDIA study, my colleagues and I found that higher marijuana use was associated with lower kidney function at the start of the our study. However, we did not find that marijuana was associated with change in kidney function or albuminuria, which is a sign of kidney damage, over long-term follow-up.

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Deceased Donor Kidneys Offered Median of 7 Times Before Acceptance For Transplant

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Anne Huml MD Center for Reducing Health Disparities Case Western Reserve University MetroHealth Medical Center Cleveland, Ohio

Dr. Huml

Dr. Anne Huml MD
Center for Reducing Health Disparities
Case Western Reserve University
MetroHealth Medical Center
Cleveland, Ohio 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Overall, about 600,000 Americans have end stage renal disease and require chronic dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant to survive. Compared to chronic dialysis, kidney transplantation results in better survival and quality of life and lower health care costs. Approximately 100,000 patients are listed for a kidney transplant. However, only 17,000 transplants occur per year with two-thirds of these coming from deceased donor organs. Annually, over 8,000 patients either die waiting for a kidney transplant or are removed from the waiting list for being too ill. Waiting times vary based on geography, but it is not unusual for patients to wait upwards of 5 years for a kidney transplant. There are sizeable race, gender, and socioeconomic disparities in access to kidney transplantation.

In this study, we evaluated the outcomes of deceased donor kidney offers and their association with donor and waitlisted patient characteristics. Differences in kidney offer outcomes to patients at the top of the waiting list may contribute to disparities in transplantation.

When a deceased donor organ becomes available, a match run list is created that ranks potential recipients in priority order based upon several characteristics, including waiting time and immunologic criteria. At the discretion of the transplant center, organ offers to patients on their waiting list can be accepted for transplant, or refused for a particular patient. The offers continue down the match run list in sequential order. For each potential recipient in whom the organ is not transplanted, a refusal code is generated and catalogued with the United Network of Organ Sharing, or UNOS. UNOS identifies 37 unique refusal codes and categorizes them into donor-related, transplant center bypassed for pre-specified criteria, recipient-related, histocompatibility-related, program-related, or other reasons for refusal.

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Loss of Sense of Smell, Malnutrition Common in Kidney Disease Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Nigwekar and Dr. Paunescu

Dr. Nigwekar and                 Dr. Paunescu

Teodor Paunescu, PhD and
Sagar Nigwekar, MD
Division of Nephrology
Massachusetts General Hospital

 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Over 25 million people in the U.S. have chronic kidney disease, and the number of deaths caused by this disease has doubled between 1990 and 2010. It is projected that by 2030 more than 1 in 3 adults over 65 years old will be diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.

Many patients with kidney disease are also malnourished, which negatively impacts their quality of life, overall health, and even survival. However, no effective treatments are currently available to address malnutrition in these patients.

The sense of smell plays an important role in determining food flavor. If a patient’s ability to smell is impaired, this could affect the taste of food, for example, foods that used to appeal to the patient may no longer do so. Given the relation between the sense of smell and appetite, we set out to investigate the loss of smell in patients with kidney disease, and to test an intervention aimed at alleviating their smell deficits.

Our first goal was to determine if patients with various degrees of kidney disease suffer smell losses and whether smell issues might affect their nutritional status. We found that, while most kidney disease patients do not perceive a problem with their sense of smell, deficits in the ability to smell are actually common among these patients, and the severity of these deficits increases with the severity of their kidney disease. Moreover, our study found that reductions in several markers of nutrition (such as cholesterol and albumin levels) correlate with the impairment in these patients’ sense of smell.

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IgG Endopeptidase Has Potential To Reduce Kidney Transplant Rejection

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Stanley C. Jordan, M.D Director, Division of Nephrology Medical Director, Kidney Transplant Program Medical Director, Human Leukocyte Antigen and Transplant Immunology Laboratory Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles, CA

Dr. Jordan

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 

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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Pain and Depression in ESRD- End Stage Renal Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kathy Aebel-Groesch, MSW,LCSW
Manager, Social Work Services
DaVita Inc.

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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High Hepatitis C Cure Rate Using Elbasvir plus Grazoprevir In Chronic Kidney Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Annette Bruchfeld MD, PhD Senior Consultant Associate Professor Karolinska Institute Dept of Renal Medicine, M99 Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge Stockholm, Sweden

Dr. Bruchfeld

Annette Bruchfeld MD, PhD Senior Consultant
Associate Professor
Karolinska Institute
Dept of Renal Medicine, M99
Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge
Stockholm, Sweden

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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Worsening Kidney Function Associated With Significantly Higher Medical Costs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Shaum Kabadi</strong> HEOR Director at AstraZeneca

Shaum Kabadi

Shaum Kabadi
HEOR Director at AstraZeneca

MedicalResearch.com: 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).

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Chronic Kidney Disease Still Highly Prevalent in Hypertensive Patients

MedicalResearch.com 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,

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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How Do Patients With Compromised Kidney Function Do After TAVR?

MedicalResearch.com 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

Dr. Beohar

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

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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Support Required To Encourage Patients With End Stage Kidney Disease To Return to Work

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Wendy Tan Senior Medical Social Worker Medical Social Work The National Kidney Foundation

Wendy Tan

Wendy Tan
Senior Medical Social Worker
Medical Social Work
The National Kidney Foundation

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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