Background: Diabetic nephropathy is the leading cause of end-stage renal failure. Untreated, it causes continuous decline in glomerular function, worsening hypertension and a marked increase in cardiovascular risk. Joint diabetic-renal clinics were established to address these factors and prepare patients for renal replacement therapy.
Aim: To determine whether our joint diabetic-renal clinic influenced progression of renal disease, and whether we were able to achieve targets from clinical trials and guidelines in routine practice.
Design: Retrospective review.
Methods: We collected data using clinical notes and electronic records for 130 patients attending the clinic over 10 years.
Results: Our patients had 62% type 2 and 38% type 1 diabetes. Mean duration of diabetes was 24 years for type 1 and 11 years for type 2 diabetes. At referral, 56% had evidence of vascular disease and 45%, proliferative retinopathy. Baseline median creatinine was 124 micromol/l. Significant improvements were made in systolic BP, diastolic BP and cholesterol (p < 0.001), compared to measurements at presentation. We analysed progression of renal disease by linear regression on 45 patients who had follow-up data for 3 years. Rate of decline of GFR was significantly reduced from 1.09 ml/min/month in the first year to 0.39 ml/min/month in the third year, (p < 0.004).
Discussion: Our findings suggest that the rate of deterioration of renal function can be reduced by aggressive management of risk factors. Joint diabetic-renal clinics appear to be useful in achieving targets in routine clinical practice.