Background: High C-reactive protein (CRP) and hypoalbuminemia are associated with increased risk of mortality in patients with kidney failure. There are limited data evaluating the relationships between CRP, albumin, and outcomes in chronic kidney disease (CKD) stages 3 and 4.
Methods: The Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) Study was a randomized controlled trial conducted between 1989 and 1993. CRP was measured in frozen samples taken at baseline. Survival status and cause of death, up to December 31, 2000, were obtained from the National Death Index. Multivariable Cox models were used to examine the relationship of CRP [stratified into high CRP > or =3.0 mg/L (N= 414) versus low CRP<3.0 mg/L (N= 283)], and serum albumin, with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.
Results: Median follow-up time was 125 months, all-cause mortality was 20% (N= 138) and cardiovascular mortality was 10% (N= 71). In multivariable analyses adjusting for demographic, cardiovascular and kidney disease factors, both high CRP (HR, 95% CI = 1.56, 1.07-2.29) and serum albumin (HR = 0.94 per 0.1 g/dL increase, 95% CI = 0.89-0.99) were independent predictors of all-cause mortality. High CRP (HR 1.94, 95% CI 1.13-3.31), but not serum albumin (HR 0.94, 95% CI 0.87-1.02), was an independent predictor of cardiovascular mortality.
Conclusion: Both high CRP and low albumin, measured in CKD stages 3 and 4, are independent risk factors for all-cause mortality. High CRP, but not serum albumin, is a risk factor for cardiovascular mortality. These results suggest that high CRP and hypoalbuminemia provide prognostic information independent of each other in CKD.