Background: Chronic kidney disease is thought to be a potential risk factor for cardiovascular death. In renal-allograft recipients, cardiovascular disease is the most significant cause of death. The purpose of this study was to investigate if renal function has a significant role in determining the risk for cardiovascular death in renal-allograft recipients.
Methods: We analyzed 58,900 adult patients registered in the United States Renal Data System who received a primary renal transplant between 1988 and 1998 and who had at least 1 year of graft survival. The primary study endpoint was death from a cardiovascular event beyond 1 year of transplantation. Secondary endpoints were death caused by infections and malignancy-related deaths. Cox proportional-hazard models were used to estimate the effect of renal function on cardiovascular death, infectious death, and malignancy-related death while correcting for potential confounding variables, such as donor and recipient age, gender, race, cause of end-stage renal disease, length of dialysis before transplantation, year of transplantation, donor source and age, delayed graft function, and immunosuppressive regimen.
Results: Serum creatinine values at 1 year after transplantation were strongly associated with the risk for cardiovascular death. Above a serum creatinine value of 1.5 mg/dL, there was a significant and progressive increase in the risk for cardiovascular death. The risk of cardiovascular death was significantly higher when patients who lost allograft function were included in the analysis. There was an association between worsening renal function and infectious death, but there was no association between renal function and malignancy-related death.
Conclusion: Serum creatinine at 1 year is strongly associated with the incidence of cardiovascular death independent of known risk factors.