Vascular risk factors and cognitive impairment in chronic kidney disease: the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) study

Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2011 Feb;6(2):248-56. doi: 10.2215/CJN.02660310. Epub 2010 Oct 7.


Background and objectives: Cognitive impairment is common among persons with chronic kidney disease, but the extent to which nontraditional vascular risk factors mediate this association is unclear.

Design, setting, participants, & measurements: We conducted cross-sectional analyses of baseline data collected from adults with chronic kidney disease participating in the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort study. Cognitive impairment was defined as a Modified Mini-Mental State Exam score>1 SD below the mean score.

Results: Among 3591 participants, the mean age was 58.2±11.0 years, and the mean estimated GFR (eGFR) was 43.4±13.5 ml/min per 1.73 m2. Cognitive impairment was present in 13%. After adjustment for demographic characteristics, prevalent vascular disease (stroke, coronary artery disease, and peripheral arterial disease) and traditional vascular risk factors (diabetes, hypertension, smoking, and elevated cholesterol), an eGFR<30 ml/min per 1.73 m2 was associated with a 47% increased odds of cognitive impairment (odds ratio 1.47, 95% confidence interval 1.05, 2.05) relative to those with an eGFR 45 to 59 ml/min per 1.73 m2. This association was attenuated and no longer significant after adjustment for hemoglobin concentration. While other nontraditional vascular risk factors including C-reactive protein, homocysteine, serum albumin, and albuminuria were correlated with cognitive impairment in unadjusted analyses, they were not significantly associated with cognitive impairment after adjustment for eGFR and other confounders.

Conclusions: The prevalence of cognitive impairment was higher among those with lower eGFR, independent of traditional vascular risk factors. This association may be explained in part by anemia.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anemia / epidemiology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vascular Diseases / epidemiology*

Grant support