Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of low birthweight on chronic renal failure among young Medicaid patients with diabetes and/or hypertension.
Methods: The study included Caucasian and African American young adults, aged 18-50, who enrolled in the Medicaid program from 1993 to 1996 in South Carolina and were diagnosed with diabetes and/or hypertension. The odds of chronic renal failure by low birthweight (< 2,500 grams) was estimated using logistic regression.
Results: Of the 7,505 Medicaid patients with diabetes and/or hypertension, 179 (2.4%) were diagnosed with chronic renal failure. These patients were younger (mean age of 33.9 vs. 37.6, p = 0.0024) and had a higher proportion of low birthweight (15.1% vs. 11.4%, p = 0.07) compared with the 7,326 patients without renal failure. The odds ratio of chronic renal failure for low birthweight was significantly higher compared with normal birthweight (2,500-3,999 grams) (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 1.56, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.0, 2.4). The association between low birthweight and chronic renal failure was stronger among the 888 patients with both diabetes and hypertension (OR 2.6, 95% Cl 1.3, 5.7) than the 1,812 diabetes or the 4,805 hypertension patients.
Conclusions: The odds of chronic renal failure by low birthweight was highest in patients with both diabetes and hypertension, suggesting that the mechanism(s) involved in the disease progression to chronic renal failure may have a fetal early life origin.