Biomarkers help ID those at risk of developing CKD

Measuring three biomarkers from a single blood sample may help doctors identify patients who are at high risk of developing chronic kidney disease, according to data from a 2,345-patient study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

The study included participants who had normal kidney function when they provided blood samples in 1995-98. An average of 9.5 years later, nine percent of patients had developed CKD, while another eight percent had macroalbuminuria--a key sign of deteriorating kidney function. Researchers found that a combination of three biomarkers significantly improved the ability to identify patients at high risk of CKD, including homocysteine, a marker of atherosclerosis risk, and aldosterone, a hormone that affects salt handling by the kidneys. The same two biomarkers also predicted the risk of macroalbuminuria, as did B-type natriuretic peptide--an indicator of heart damage in patients with heart failure.

Adding the biomarker results to standard risk factors like high blood pressure and diabetes would lead to an additional seven percent of patients being classified at high risk of CKD, PhysOrg notes. With further testing, these biomarkers identified could improve estimates of CKD risk.

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