Association of Obesity With Kidney and Cardiac Outcomes Among Patients With Glomerular Disease: Findings From the Cure Glomerulonephropathy Network

Am J Kidney Dis. 2024 May 13:S0272-6386(24)00756-X. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2024.03.020. Online ahead of print.


Rationale & objective: The influence of obesity on cardiorenal outcomes in individuals with glomerular disease is incompletely known. This study examined the association between obesity and kidney and cardiovascular outcomes in children and adults with glomerular kidney disease.

Study design: Prospective, multicenter, observational study.

Setting & participants: Participants in the Cure Glomerulonephropathy Network (CureGN) who were≥5 years of age at enrollment.

Exposure: Adult body mass index (BMI) groups: 20-24 (healthy) versus 25-34 (overweight/class 1 obesity) versus≥35 (class 2-3 obesity); and pediatric BMI percentiles: 5th-84th (healthy) versus 85th-94th (overweight) versus≥95th (obese).

Outcome: A composite kidney outcome (40% estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR] decline or kidney failure) and a composite cardiovascular outcome (myocardial infarction, stroke, heart failure, or death).

Analytical approach: Time to composite primary outcomes by BMI strata were estimated using Kaplan-Meier analysis. The adjusted associations between BMI and outcomes were estimated using Cox proportional hazards analysis.

Results: The study included 2,301 participants (1,548 adults and 753 children). The incidence of the primary kidney end point was 90.8 per 1,000 person-years in adults with class 2-3 obesity, compared with 58.0 in normal weight comparators. In the univariable analysis, class 2-3 obesity was associated with the primary kidney outcome only in adults (HR, 1.6 [95% CI, 1.1-2.2], P=0.006) compared with the healthy weight groups. In the multivariable adjusted analysis, class 2-3 obesity did not remain significant among adults when controlling for baseline eGFR and proteinuria. Adults with class 2-3 obesity had an incidence of 19.7 cardiovascular events per 1,000 person-years and greater cardiovascular risk (HR, 3.9 [95% CI, 1.4-10.7], P=0.009) in the fully adjusted model.

Limitations: BMI is an imperfect indicator of adiposity. Residual confounding may exist from socioeconomic factors.

Conclusions: Among adult patients in CureGN, class 2-3 obesity is associated with cardiovascular but not kidney outcomes when adjusted for potential confounding factors.

Plain-language summary: Obesity is a risk factor for adverse heart and kidney outcomes in patients with chronic kidney disease, but whether it is associated with these outcomes in patients with glomerulonephropathy is not known. This study used existing data from a large sample of adults and children with glomerular diseases to address this question. The findings suggest that obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular but not kidney disease events in adult patients with glomerular disease.

Keywords: Adults; IgA nephropathy; cardiovascular disease; children; focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; glomerulonephritis; membranous nephropathy; minimal change disease; obesity; outcomes.