Chronic kidney disease

Lancet. 2021 Aug 28;398(10302):786-802. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00519-5. Epub 2021 Jun 24.


Chronic kidney disease is a progressive disease with no cure and high morbidity and mortality that occurs commonly in the general adult population, especially in people with diabetes and hypertension. Preservation of kidney function can improve outcomes and can be achieved through non-pharmacological strategies (eg, dietary and lifestyle adjustments) and chronic kidney disease-targeted and kidney disease-specific pharmacological interventions. A plant-dominant, low-protein, and low-salt diet might help to mitigate glomerular hyperfiltration and preserve renal function for longer, possibly while also leading to favourable alterations in acid-base homoeostasis and in the gut microbiome. Pharmacotherapies that alter intrarenal haemodynamics (eg, renin-angiotensin-aldosterone pathway modulators and SGLT2 [SLC5A2] inhibitors) can preserve kidney function by reducing intraglomerular pressure independently of blood pressure and glucose control, whereas other novel agents (eg, non-steroidal mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists) might protect the kidney through anti-inflammatory or antifibrotic mechanisms. Some glomerular and cystic kidney diseases might benefit from disease-specific therapies. Managing chronic kidney disease-associated cardiovascular risk, minimising the risk of infection, and preventing acute kidney injury are crucial interventions for these patients, given the high burden of complications, associated morbidity and mortality, and the role of non-conventional risk factors in chronic kidney disease. When renal replacement therapy becomes inevitable, an incremental transition to dialysis can be considered and has been proposed to possibly preserve residual kidney function longer. There are similarities and distinctions between kidney-preserving care and supportive care. Additional studies of dietary and pharmacological interventions and development of innovative strategies are necessary to ensure optimal kidney-preserving care and to achieve greater longevity and better health-related quality of life for these patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Healthy Lifestyle*
  • Humans
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / diet therapy*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / drug therapy*