Purpose of review: Chronic kidney disease is becoming recognized as an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Recent publications on cardiovascular disease risk in chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease risk factors in chronic kidney disease and clinical trials for cardiovascular disease risk reduction in chronic kidney disease are summarized.
Recent findings: An American Heart Association statement published in 2003 recommended that patients with chronic kidney disease be considered as members of the 'highest risk group' for subsequent cardiovascular disease events. In the past year, several large prospective studies have reported that cardiovascular disease risk is independently associated with chronic kidney disease markers, e.g. elevated serum creatinine, low estimated glomerular filtration rate and microalbuminuria. The populations studied have included community samples of middle-aged and older adults, subjects with myocardial infarction, those undergoing coronary angiography, and transplant patients. There is a very strong crude association between a low glomerular filtration rate and cardiovascular disease and mortality. Much of the association is explained by traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors, but an independent risk remains. Studies have documented a disturbing underutilization of preventive treatments for cardiovascular disease among patients with chronic kidney disease. Studies of non-traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors are reviewed. The utility of targeting these for cardiovascular disease risk reduction needs to be proved. A summary of large ongoing clinical trials intended to reduce cardiovascular disease risk in chronic kidney disease is presented.
Summary: Increasing data support the importance of chronic kidney disease as a predictor of cardiovascular disease risk. However, treatments designed to lower cardiovascular disease risk are used less often in patients with chronic kidney disease than in patients without chronic kidney disease. There is a need for increased application and testing of cardiovascular disease prevention treatments in chronic kidney disease.