Cardiorenal Syndrome in Western Countries: Epidemiology, Diagnosis and Management Approaches

Kidney Dis (Basel). 2017 Jan;2(4):151-163. doi: 10.1159/000448749. Epub 2016 Sep 10.


Background: It is well established that a large number of hospitalized patients present various degrees of heart and kidney dysfunction; primary disease of the heart or kidney often involves dysfunction or injury to the other.

Summary: Based on above-cited organ cross-talk, the term cardiorenal syndrome (CRS) was proposed. Although CRS was usually referred to as abruption of kidney function following heart injury, it is now clearly established that it can describe negative effects of an impaired renal function on the heart and circulation. The historical lack of clear syndrome definition and complexity of diseases contributed to a waste of precious time especially concerning diagnosis and therapeutic strategies. The effective classification of CRS proposed in a Consensus Conference by the Acute Dialysis Quality Group essentially divides CRS into two main groups, cardiorenal and renocardiac CRS, on the basis of primum movens of disease (cardiac or renal); both cardiorenal and renocardiac CRS are then divided into acute and chronic according to disease onset. Type 5 CRS integrates all cardiorenal involvement induced by systemic disease.

Key messages: Prevalence and incidence data show a widespread increase of CRS also due to an increasing incidence of acute and chronic cardiovascular disease, such as acute decompensated heart failure, arterial hypertension and valvular heart disease. Patients with chronic kidney disease present various degrees of cardiovascular involvement especially due to chronic inflammatory status, volume and pressure overload and secondary hyperparathyroidism leading to a higher incidence of calcific heart disease. The following review will focus on the main aspects (epidemiology, risk factors, diagnostic tools and protocols, therapeutic approaches) of CRS in Western countries (Europe and United States).

Keywords: Cardiorenal syndrome; Diagnosis; Outcomes; Risk factors; Treatment; Western countries.

Publication types

  • Review