CKD and the risk of acute, community-acquired infections among older people with diabetes mellitus: a retrospective cohort study using electronic health records

Am J Kidney Dis. 2015 Jul;66(1):60-8. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2014.11.027. Epub 2015 Jan 30.


Background: Hospital admissions for community-acquired infection are increasing rapidly in the United Kingdom, particularly among older individuals, possibly reflecting an increasing prevalence of comorbid conditions such as chronic kidney disease (CKD). This study describes associations between CKD (excluding patients treated by dialysis or transplantation) and community-acquired infection incidence among older people with diabetes mellitus.

Study design: Retrospective cohort study using primary care records from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink linked to Hospital Episode Statistics admissions data.

Setting & participants: 191,709 patients 65 years or older with diabetes mellitus and no history of renal replacement therapy, United Kingdom, 1997 to 2011.

Predictor: Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and history of proteinuria.

Outcomes: Incidence of community-acquired lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs, with pneumonia as a subset) and sepsis, diagnosed in primary or secondary care, excluding hospital admissions from time at risk.

Measurements: Poisson regression was used to calculate incidence rate ratios (IRRs) adjusted for age, sex, smoking status, comorbid conditions, and characteristics of diabetes. Estimates for associations of eGFR with infection were adjusted for proteinuria, and vice versa.

Results: Strong graded associations between lower eGFRs and infection were observed. Compared with patients with eGFRs≥60mL/min/1.73m(2), fully adjusted IRRs for pneumonia among those with eGFRs<15, 15 to 29, 30 to 44, and 45 to 59mL/min/1.73m(2) were 3.04 (95% CI, 2.42-3.83), 1.73 (95% CI, 1.57-1.92), 1.19 (95% CI, 1.11-1.28), and 0.95 (95% CI, 0.89-1.01), respectively. Associations between lower eGFRs and sepsis were stronger, with fully adjusted IRRs up to 5.56 (95% CI, 3.90-7.94). Those associations with LRTI were weaker but still clinically relevant at up to 1.47 (95% CI, 1.34-1.62). In fully adjusted models, a history of proteinuria remained an independent marker of increased infection risk for LRTI, pneumonia, and sepsis (IRRs of 1.07 [95% CI, 1.05-1.09], 1.26 [95% CI, 1.19-1.33], and 1.33 [95% CI, 1.20-1.47]).

Limitations: Patients without creatinine results were excluded.

Conclusions: Strategies to prevent infection among people with CKD are needed.

Keywords: Community-acquired infections; aged; decreased renal function; diabetes mellitus; elderly; electronic health records; estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR); lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs); non–dialysis-dependent chronic kidney disease (CKD); pneumonia; proteinuria; sepsis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Community-Acquired Infections / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data
  • Pneumonia / epidemiology
  • Proteinuria / epidemiology
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sepsis / etiology
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology