Sex and the Risk of Atheromatous and Non-Atheromatous Cardiovascular Disease in CKD: Findings From the CKD-REIN Cohort Study

Am J Kidney Dis. 2024 Jun 24:S0272-6386(24)00811-4. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2024.04.013. Online ahead of print.


Rationale & objective: Sex differences in cardiovascular disease (CVD) are well-established, but whether chronic kidney disease (CKD) modifies these risk differences, and whether they differ between atheromatous (ACVD) and non-atheromatous (N-ACVD) CVD is unknown. Assessing this interaction was the principal goal of this study.

Study design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting & participants: Adults enrolled in the CKD-Renal Epidemiology and Information Network (CKD-REIN) cohort from from 2013 to 2020, a nationally representative sample of 40 nephrology clinics in France.

Exposure: Sex.

Outcomes: Fatal and non-fatal composite ACVD events (ischaemic coronary, cerebral, and peripheral artery disease) and composite N-ACVD events (heart failure, haemorrhagic stroke, and arrhythmias).

Analytical approach: Multivariable cause-specific Cox proportional hazards models.

Results: 1,044 women and 1,976 men with moderate to severe CKD (median age, 67 vs. 69; mean estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR], 32±12 vs. 33±12 mL/min/1.73m2) were studied. Over a median follow-up of 5.0 (interquartile range, 4.8;5.2) years, the ACVD rate (per 100 patient-years) was significantly lower in women than men: 2.1 (95% confidence interval: 1.6-2.5) vs 3.6 (3.2-4.0) (P<0.01), while the N-ACVD rate was not: 5.7 (5.0-6.5) vs 6.4 (5.8-7.0) (P=0.55). N-ACVD had a steeper relationship with eGFR than did ACVD. There was an interaction (P<0.01) between sex and baseline eGFR and the ACVD hazard: the adjusted hazard ratio for women compared to men was 0.42 (0.25;0.71) at 45 mL/min/1.73m2 and gradually attenuated at lower levels of eGFR, reaching 1.00 (0.62;1.63) at 16 mL/min/1.73m2. In contrast, the N-ACVD hazard did not differ between the sexes across the eGFR range studied.

Limitations: Cardiovascular biomarkers and sex hormones were not assessed.

Conclusion: This study shows how the lower risk of ACVD among women compared to men attenuates fully with kidney disease progression. The equal risk of N-ACVD between sexes across CKD stages and its steeper association with eGFR suggest an important contribution of CKD to the development of this CVD type.

Keywords: atherosclerosis; atrial fibrillation; cardiovascular disease; chronic kidney disease; heart failure; sex.