Objective: Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) than patients in the general population. One potentially modifiable risk factor for CVD in patients with CKD is dyslipidemia. In the current manuscript we review observational and trial data assessing dyslipidemia and its treatment in this patient population.
Results: Observational studies have noted a "reverse epidemiology" in patients with CKD such that low total cholesterol levels are associated with a higher mortality rate. The complex lipid profile of patients with CKD also raises questions as to whether lipid-lowering therapy will be beneficial in this patient population. Although there are only a few trials assessing the relationship between lipid-lowering therapy and CVD outcomes in CKD patients, many lipid-lowering medications are both safe and effective. In addition, there is suggestive evidence that statin therapy, in particular, also may reduce inflammation and slow the decline in glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in patients during the earlier stages of CKD.
Conclusion: Because of the high rate of CVD in patients with CKD and the overall safety of most medical therapies for dyslipidemia in CKD, current guidelines from the National Kidney Foundation Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative recommend aggressive therapy of dyslipidemia. These guidelines do, however, acknowledge the paucity of trial data in this patient population. There are 3 ongoing randomized controlled trials that are assessing the effect of statin therapy on CVD outcomes. These studies will hopefully provide definitive answers as to the appropriate treatment of dyslipidemia in CKD.