Aims/hypothesis: We evaluated the impact of remission of nephrotic-range albuminuria (>2500 mg/24 h) (NRA) on end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and mortality in type 2 diabetic patients with nephropathy.
Methods: This was a follow-up observational study involving all 79 patients (35%; 62 men, 17 women) with NRA from a cohort of type 2 diabetic patients with nephropathy that was followed for at least 3 years at the Steno Diabetes Center (n=227). Patients were followed from the onset of NRA until death or January 2005. The mean age (+/-SD) was 60+/-8 years and known diabetes duration was 14+/-7 years. Remission of NRA was defined as sustained albuminuria <600 mg/24 h for at least 1 year.
Results: The duration of follow-up after onset of NRA was 6.5 years (range 2-20 years). Remission was induced in 20 (25%) of the patients, all treated with ACE inhibitors or angiotensin-II receptor blockers. Remission lasted 4.1 years (range 1-10 years) and only three patients relapsed. At the end of follow-up, only 30% (two ESRD and four deaths) of the 20 patients with remission had reached the composite endpoint of ESRD or death, in contrast to 66% (16 ESRD and 23 deaths) of the 59 patients without remission (p<0.01). Cox regression analysis revealed that remission was associated with a risk reduction of 67% (95% CI 10-87) for reaching the composite endpoint of ESRD or death and of 69% (95% CI 21-88%) for death alone. Male sex, greater age and systolic blood pressure at onset of NRA were also independently associated with an increased risk of ESRD and death.
Conclusions/interpretation: Aggressive antihypertensive treatment can lead to long-term remission of NRA in a sizeable proportion of patients with type 2 diabetes. Such remission is associated with a slower progression of nephropathy and substantially improved survival.