Background: A main challenge for targeting chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the heterogeneity of its causes, co-morbidities and outcomes. Patients under nephrological care represent an important reference population, but knowledge about their characteristics is limited.
Methods: We enrolled 5217 carefully phenotyped patients with moderate CKD [estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) 30-60 mL/min per 1.73 m(2) or overt proteinuria at higher eGFR] under routine care of nephrologists into the German Chronic Kidney Disease (GCKD) study, thereby establishing the currently worldwide largest CKD cohort.
Results: The cohort has 60% men, a mean age (±SD) of 60 ± 12 years, a mean eGFR of 47 ± 17 mL/min per 1.73 m(2) and a median (IQR) urinary albumin/creatinine ratio of 51 (9-392) mg/g. Assessment of causes of CKD revealed a high degree of uncertainty, with the leading cause unknown in 20% and frequent suspicion of multifactorial pathogenesis. Thirty-five per cent of patients had diabetes, but only 15% were considered to have diabetic nephropathy. Cardiovascular disease prevalence was high (32%, excluding hypertension); prevalent risk factors included smoking (59% current or former smokers) and obesity (43% with BMI >30). Despite widespread use of anti-hypertensive medication, only 52% of the cohort had an office blood pressure <140/90 mmHg. Family histories for cardiovascular events (39%) and renal disease (28%) suggest familial aggregation.
Conclusions: Patients with moderate CKD under specialist care have a high disease burden. Improved diagnostic accuracy, rigorous management of risk factors and unravelling of the genetic predisposition may represent strategies for improving prognosis.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease; chronic kidney disease; epidemiology; nephrology referral.
© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of ERA-EDTA. All rights reserved.