Background: Recent guidelines suggest lowering the target blood pressure for patients with chronic kidney disease, although the strength of evidence for this suggestion has been uncertain. We sought to assess the renal and cardiovascular effects of intensive blood pressure lowering in people with chronic kidney disease.
Methods: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of all relevant reports published between 1950 and July 2011 identified in a search of MEDLINE, Embase and the Cochrane Library. We included randomized trials that assigned patients with chronic kidney disease to different target blood pressure levels and reported kidney failure or cardiovascular events. Two reviewers independently identified relevant articles and extracted data.
Results: We identified 11 trials providing information on 9287 patients with chronic kidney disease and 1264 kidney failure events (defined as either a composite of doubling of serum creatinine level and 50% decline in glomerular filtration rate, or end-stage kidney disease). Compared with standard regimens, a more intensive blood pressure-lowering strategy reduced the risk of the composite outcome (hazard ratio [HR] 0.82, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.68-0.98) and end-stage kidney disease (HR 0.79, 95% CI 0.67-0.93). Subgroup analysis showed effect modification by baseline proteinuria (p = 0.006) and markers of trial quality. Intensive blood pressure lowering reduced the risk of kidney failure (HR 0.73, 95% CI 0.62-0.86), but not in patients without proteinuria at baseline (HR 1.12, 95% CI 0.67-1.87). There was no clear effect on the risk of cardiovascular events or death.
Interpretation: Intensive blood pressure lowering appears to provide protection against kidney failure events in patients with chronic kidney disease, particularly among those with proteinuria. More data are required to determine the effects of such a strategy among patients without proteinuria.