Kidney function impairment linked to raised risk of stroke

Impaired kidney function raises the risk of stroke by almost half, research shows.

Kidney: eGFR rates studied (Photograph: SPL)
Kidney: eGFR rates studied (Photograph: SPL)

Patients with reduced estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) had a 43 per cent greater risk of stroke than those with normal rates, a Taiwanese meta-analysis showed.

The authors believe the findings may warrant the use of low eGFR as a marker for increased stroke risk.

A team led by Meng Lee of the Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Taiwan, examined 21 studies involving 284,672 patients. In total, 7,863 strokes occurred in this group.

Their study compared recorded eGFR against the numbers of strokes, with a follow-up time of between three and 15 years. A low rate was deemed to be below 60ml/min/1.73m2.

Patients with low eGFR at baseline were much more likely to have had a stroke.

But there was no clear evidence of increased risk among patients with eGFR between 60-90ml/min/1.73m2. The findings also suggested that Asian people with low eGFR may be at even higher risk of stroke.

In a separate study, a team from Cambridge University that found patients with kidney disease had an increased risk of CHD. Among 16,958 participants in the study, 1,210 had CKD at the start of the study.

Those with stage 1 disease had 55 per cent greater risk of CHD than those without CKD. This rose to more than a four-fold risk increase among those with stage 4 disease.

Stephen Robinson

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BMJ 2010 online

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