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1.  Low Body Mass Index and Dyslipidemia in Dialysis Patients linked to Elevated Plasma Fibroblast Growth Factor 23 
American journal of nephrology  2013;37(3):183-190.
Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) has been associated with death in dialysis patients. Since FGF23 shares structural features with FGF19-subfamily members that exert hormonal control of fat mass, we hypothesized that high circulating FGF23 concentrations would be associated with the development of a uremic lipid profile and lower body mass index.
This study was conducted among 654 patients receiving chronic hemodialysis. C-terminal FGF23 concentrations were measured in stored plasma samples. Linear regression was used to examine the cross-sectional associations of plasma FGF23 concentrations with body mass index (BMI), total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) and triglycerides (TG). Cox-proportional hazard models were used to examine the association between FGF23 concentrations and all-cause mortality.
Participants had a mean age of 60 ± 11 years and a median [IQR] FGF23 concentration of 4212 [1411-13816] RU/mL. An increase per SD in log10 FGF23 was associated with lower BMI (β= −1.11; p=0.008), TC (β= −6.46; p=0.02), LDL-C (β= −4.73; p=0.04) and HDL-C (β= −2.14; p=0.03); after adjusting for age, gender, race, cardiovascular risk factors, serum albumin, markers of mineral metabolism, and use of lipid lowering drugs. The association of FGF23 with death was attenuated after adjustment for HDL-C (HR of highest quartile 1.53, 95% CI 1.06-2.20 compared to lowest quartile).
These results indicate that higher plasma FGF23 levels are associated with lower BMI and dyslipidemia in dialysis patients. The association between FGF23 and death may be mediated through unexplored metabolic risk factors unrelated to mineral metabolism.
PMCID: PMC3717381  PMID: 23428834
Hemodialysis; fibroblast growth factor 23; dyslipidemia; body mass index
2.  Effect of Dipyridamole plus Aspirin on Hemodialysis Graft Patency 
The New England journal of medicine  2009;360(21):2191-2201.
Arteriovenous graft stenosis leading to thrombosis is a major cause of complications in patients undergoing hemodialysis. Procedural interventions may restore patency but are costly. Although there is no proven pharmacologic therapy, dipyridamole may be promising because of its known vascular antiproliferative activity.
We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of extended-release dipyridamole, at a dose of 200 mg, and aspirin, at a dose of 25 mg, given twice daily after the placement of a new arteriovenous graft until the primary outcome, loss of primary unassisted patency (i.e., patency without thrombosis or requirement for intervention), was reached. Secondary outcomes were cumulative graft failure and death. Primary and secondary outcomes were analyzed with the use of a Cox proportional-hazards regression with adjustment for prespecified covariates.
At 13 centers in the United States, 649 patients were randomly assigned to receive dipyridamole plus aspirin (321 patients) or placebo (328 patients) over a period of 4.5 years, with 6 additional months of follow-up. The incidence of primary unassisted patency at 1 year was 23% (95% confidence interval [CI], 18 to 28) in the placebo group and 28% (95% CI, 23 to 34) in the dipyridamole–aspirin group, an absolute difference of 5 percentage points. Treatment with dipyridamole plus aspirin significantly prolonged the duration of primary unassisted patency (hazard ratio, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.68 to 0.98; P = 0.03) and inhibited stenosis. The incidences of cumulative graft failure, death, the composite of graft failure or death, and serious adverse events (including bleeding) did not differ significantly between study groups.
Treatment with dipyridamole plus aspirin had a significant but modest effect in reducing the risk of stenosis and improving the duration of primary unassisted patency of newly created grafts. ( number, NCT00067119.)
PMCID: PMC3929400  PMID: 19458364
Hypertension  2012;61(1):82-88.
The objective of our study was to determine the effects of two antihypertensive drug dose schedules (‘PM dose’ and ‘Add on dose’) on nocturnal blood pressure (BP) in comparison to usual therapy (‘AM dose’) in African Americans with hypertensive chronic kidney disease (CKD) and controlled office BP. In a three period, cross-over trial, former participants of the African American Study of Kidney Disease were assigned to receive the following three regimens, each lasting 6 weeks, presented in random order: AM dose (once daily antihypertensive medications taken in the morning), PM dose (once daily antihypertensives taken at bedtime) and ‘Add on dose’ (once daily antihypertensives taken in the morning and an additional antihypertensive medication before bedtime [diltiazem 60–120 mg, hydralazine 25 mg, or additional ramipril 5 mg]). Ambulatory BP monitoring was performed at the end of each period. The primary outcome was nocturnal systolic BP. Mean age of the study population (n=147) was 65.4 years, 64% were male, mean estimated GFR was 44.9 ml/min/1.73 m2. At the end of each period, mean (SE) nocturnal systolic BP was 125.6 (1.2) mm Hg in the AM dose, 123.9 (1.2) mm Hg in the PM dose, and 123.5(1.2) mm Hg in the Add-on dose. None of the pairwise differences in nocturnal, 24-hour and daytime systolic BP were statistically significant. Among African Americans with hypertensive CKD, neither PM (bedtime) dosing of once daily antihypertensive nor the addition of drugs taken at bedtime significantly reduced nocturnal BP compared to morning dosing of anti-hypertensive medications.
PMCID: PMC3523681  PMID: 23172931
Nocturnal blood pressure; chronic kidney disease; hypertension
4.  Long-term Effects of Renin-Angiotensin System–Blocking Therapy and a Low Blood Pressure Goal on Progression of Hypertensive Chronic Kidney Disease in African Americans 
Archives of internal medicine  2008;168(8):10.1001/archinte.168.8.832.
Antihypertensive drugs that block the renin-angiotensin system (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors [ACEIs] or angiotensin receptor blockers) are recommended for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). A low blood pressure (BP) goal (BP, <130/80 mm Hg) is also recommended. The objective of this study was to determine the long-term effects of currently recommended BP therapy in 1094 African Americans with hypertensive CKD.
Multicenter cohort study following a randomized trial. Participants were 1094 African Americans with hypertensive renal disease (glomerular filtration rate, 20–65 mL/min/1.73 m2). Following a 3×2-factorial trial (1995–2001) that tested 3 drugs used as initial antihypertensive therapy (ACEIs, calcium channel blockers, and β-blockers) and 2 levels of BP control (usual and low), we conducted a cohort study (2002–2007) in which participants were treated with ACEIs to a BP lower than 130/80 mm Hg. The outcome measures were a composite of doubling of the serum creatinine level, end-stage renal disease, or death.
During each year of the cohort study, the annual use of an ACEI or an angiotensin receptor blocker ranged from 83.7% to 89.0% (vs 38.5% to 49.8% during the trial). The mean BP in the cohort study was 133/78 mm Hg (vs 136/82 mm Hg in the trial). Overall, 567 participants experienced the primary outcome; the 10-year cumulative incidence rate was 53.9%. Of 576 participants with at least 7 years of follow-up, 33.5% experienced a slow decline in kidney function (mean annual decline in the estimated glomerular filtration rate, <1 mL/min/1.73 m2).
Despite the benefits of renin-angiotensin system–blocking therapy on CKD progression, most African Americans with hypertensive CKD who are treated with currently recommended BP therapy continue to progress during the long term.
PMCID: PMC3870204  PMID: 18443258
5.  Frequent nocturnal hemodialysis accelerates the decline of residual kidney function 
Kidney international  2013;83(5):10.1038/ki.2012.457.
Frequent hemodialysis can alter volume status, blood pressure and the concentration of osmotically active solutes, each of which might affect residual kidney function (RKF). In the Frequent Hemodialysis Network Daily and Nocturnal Trials, we examined the effects of assignment to 6 compared to 3 times per week hemodialysis on follow up RKF. In both trials, baseline RKF was inversely correlated with number of years since onset of ESRD. In the Nocturnal Trial, 63 participants had non-zero RKF at baseline (mean urine volume 0.76 l/d, urea clearance 2.3 ml/min, and creatinine clearance 4.7 ml/min). In those assigned to frequent nocturnal dialysis, these indices were all significantly lower at month 4 and were mostly so at month 12 compared to controls. In the frequent dialysis group, urine volume had declined to zero in 52% and 67% of patients at months 4 and 12, respectively, compared to 18% and 36% in controls. In the Daily Trial, 83 patients had non-zero RKF at baseline (mean urine volume 0.43 l/d, urea clearance 1.2 ml/min, and creatinine clearance 2.7 ml/min). Here, treatment assignment did not significantly influence follow-up levels of the measured indices, although the range in baseline RKF was narrower, potentially limiting power to detect differences. Thus, frequent nocturnal hemodialysis appears to promote a more rapid loss of RKF, the mechanism of which remains to be determined. Whether RKF also declines with frequent daily treatment could not be determined.
PMCID: PMC3855839  PMID: 23344474
6.  Nonparametric Multi-state Representations of Survival and Longitudinal Data with Measurement Error 
Statistics in medicine  2012;31(21):10.1002/sim.5369.
This paper proposes a nonparametric procedure to describe the progression of longitudinal cohorts over time from a population averaged perspective, leading to multi-state probability curves with the states defined jointly by survival and longitudinal outcomes measured with error. To account for the challenges of informative dropout and nonlinear shapes of the longitudinal trajectories, a bias corrected penalized spline regression is applied to estimate the unobserved longitudinal trajectory for each subject. The multi-state probability curves are then estimated based on the survival data and the estimated longitudinal trajectories. Simulation Extrapolation (SIMEX) is further used to reduce the estimation bias caused by the randomness of the estimated trajectories. A bootstrap test is developed to compare multi-state probability curves between groups. We present theoretical justification of the estimation procedure along with a simulation study to demonstrate finite sample performance. The procedure is illustrated by data from the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension, and it can be widely applied in longitudinal studies.
PMCID: PMC3845220  PMID: 22535711
Multi-state representations; penalized spline; SIMEX
7.  25-hydroxyvitamin D Deficiency is Associated with an Increased Risk of Metabolic Syndrome in Patients with Non-Diabetic Chronic Kidney Disease 
Clinical nephrology  2012;78(6):432-441.
Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) not requiring dialysis have a high prevalence of 25(OH)D deficiency but the relationship between 25(OH)D levels and metabolic syndrome is unknown in this population.
This study analyzed stored plasma samples from 495 non-diabetic subjects with severe kidney disease, not yet on dialysis, who participated in the Homocysteine in Kidney and End Stage Renal Disease study. Metabolic syndrome was defined as the presence of all three of the following: (1) Serum triglycerides ≥150 mg/dL or drug treatment for hypertriglyceridemia; (2) serum high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) < 50 mg/dL for women or < 40 mg/dL for men or drug treatment for dyslipidemia; and (3) blood pressure ≥130/85 mmHg or drug treat ment for hypertension. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to evaluate the cross-sectional association between plasma 25(OH)D levels and metabolic syndrome.
The prevalence of metabolic syndrome increased as 25(OH)D levels declined, with the highest prevalence in participants with 25(OH)D levels < 20 ng/mL. Participants with 25(OH)D levels < 20 ng/mL had a significantly increased risk of metabolic syndrome compared to subjects with levels > 30 ng/mL after adjustment for multiple confounders (OR 2.25, 95% CI 1.25–4.07). Plasma 25(OH)D levels were inversely associated with diastolic blood pressure (R= −0.10, p=0.029) and serum triglyceride levels (R= −0.14, p=0.002).
25(OH)D deficiency is strongly associated with an increas ed risk of metabolic syndromein non-diabetic patients with severe CKD not yet on dialysis, independent of cardiometabolic risk factors and other important regulators of mineral metabolism.
PMCID: PMC3697908  PMID: 22784560
25-hydroxyvitamin D; Chronic kidney disease; Metabolic Syndrome
8.  Baseline Predictors of Renal Disease Progression in the African American Study of Hypertension and Kidney Disease 
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology : JASN  2006;17(10):10.1681/ASN.2005101101.
Patients with chronic kidney disease have an increased risk for progression to ESRD. The purpose of this study was to examine factors that predict increased risk for adverse renal outcomes. Cox regression was performed to assess the potential of 38 baseline risk factors to predict the clinical renal composite outcome of 50% or 25-ml/min per 1.73 m2 GFR decline or ESRD among 1094 black patients with hypertensive nephrosclerosis (GFR 20 to 65 ml/min per 1.73 m2). Patients were trial participants who had been randomly assigned to one of two BP goals and to one of three antihypertensive regimens and followed for a range of 3 to 6.4 yr. In unadjusted and adjusted analyses, baseline proteinuria was consistently associated with an increased risk for adverse renal outcomes, even at low levels of proteinuria. The relationship of proteinuria with adverse renal outcomes also was evident in analyses that were stratified by level of GFR, which itself was associated with adverse renal outcomes but only at levels <40 ml/min. Other factors that were significantly associated with increased renal events after adjustment for baseline GFR, age, and gender, both with and without adjustment for baseline proteinuria, included serum creatinine, urea nitrogen, and phosphorus. In black patients with hypertensive nephrosclerosis, increased proteinuria, reduced GFR, and elevated levels of serum creatinine, urea nitrogen and phosphorus were directly associated with adverse clinical renal events. These findings identify a subset of this high-risk population that might benefit from even more aggressive treatment.
PMCID: PMC3833081  PMID: 16959828
9.  Risk of Hyperkalemia in Nondiabetic Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease Receiving Antihypertensive Therapy 
Transplantation  2011;92(7):10.1097/TP.0b013e31822dc36b.
The incidence and factors associated with hyperkalemia in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) treated with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and other antihypertensive drugs was investigated using the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK) database.
A total of 1094 nondiabetic adults with hypertensive CKD (glomerular filtration rate [GFR], 20–65 mL/min/1.73 m2) were followed for 3.0 to 6.4 years in the AASK trial. Participants were randomly assigned to ACEI, β-blocker (BB), or dihydropyridine calcium channel blocker (CCB). The outcome variables for this analysis were a serum potassium level higher than 5.5 mEq/L (to convert to millimoles per liter, multiply by 1.0), or a clinical center initiated hyperkalemia stop point.
A total of 6497 potassium measurements were obtained, and 80 events in 51 subjects were identified (76 events driven by a central laboratory result and 4 driven by a clinical center–initiated hyperkalemia stop point). Compared with a GFR higher than 50 mL/min/1.73 m2, after multivariable adjustment, the hazard ratio (HR) for hyperkalemia in patients with a GFR between 31 and 40 mL/min/1.73 m2 and a GFR lower than 30 mL/min/1.73 m2 was 3.61 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.42–9.18 [P=.007]) and 6.81 (95% CI, 2.67–17.35 [P<.001]), respectively; there was no increased risk of hyperkalemia if GFR was 41 to 50 mL/min/1.73 m2. Use of ACEIs was associated with more episodes of hyperkalemia compared with CCB use (HR, 7.00; 95% CI, 2.29–21.39 [P<.001]) and BB group (HR, 2.85; 95% CI, 1.50–5.42 [P=.001]). Diuretic use was associated with a 59% decreased risk of hyperkalemia.
In nondiabetic patients with hypertensive CKD treated with ACEIs, the risk of hyperkalemia is small, particularly if baseline and follow-up GFR is higher than 40 mL/min/1.73 m2. Including a diuretic in the regimen may markedly reduce risk of hyperkalemia.
PMCID: PMC3831506  PMID: 21832957
10.  Associations of Plasma 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D Concentrations With Death and Progression to Maintenance Dialysis in Patients With Advanced Kidney Disease 
Low vitamin D concentrations are prevalent in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients. We investigated the relationship between plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) or 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)2D) concentrations with death, cardiovascular events (CVE) and dialysis initiation in patients with advanced CKD. Study Design: The Homocysteine Study was a randomized double-blind trial evaluating the effects of high doses of folic acid on death and chronic dialysis initiation in patients with advanced CKD (stage 4 and 5 not yet on dialysis). 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D concentrations were measured in stored plasma samples obtained 3 months after trial initiation and evaluated at clinically defined cutoffs (<10, 10-30, and >30 ng/mL) and tertiles (< 15, 15-22, and >22 pg/mL), respectively. Cox-proportional hazard models were used to examine the association between vitamin D concentrations and clinical outcomes.
Setting & Participants
1,099 patients with advanced CKD from 36 Veteran Affairs Medical Centers
25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D concentrations
Death, CVE and time to initiation of chronic dialysis.
After a median follow-up period of 2.9 years, 41% (n=453) died, while 56% (n=615) initiated dialysis. Mean 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D concentrations were 21±10 ng/mL and 20±11 pg/mL, respectively. After adjustment for potential confounders, the lowest tertile of 1,25(OH)2D was associated with death (HR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.01-1.74) and initiation of chronic dialysis (HR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.40-2.26), compared to the highest tertile. The association with death and initiation of dialysis was moderately attenuated after adjustment for plasma fibroblast growth factor-23 (FGF23) concentrations (HRs of lower tertiles of 1.20 [95% CI, 0.91-1.58] and 1.56 [95% CI, 1.23-1.99], respectively, compared to highest tertile). There was no association between 25(OH)D concentrations and outcomes.
Participants were mostly male.
Low plasma 1,25(OH)2D concentrations are associated with death and initiation of chronic dialysis in advanced CKD. Fibroblast growth factor-23 may attentuate this relationship.
PMCID: PMC3439559  PMID: 22621970
11.  Effect of Intensive Blood Pressure Control on Cardiovascular Remodeling in Hypertensive Patients with Nephrosclerosis 
Pulse pressure (PP), a marker of arterial system properties, has been linked to cardiovascular (CV) complications. We examined (a) association between unit changes of PP and (i) composite CV outcomes and (ii) development of left-ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) and (b) effect of mean arterial pressure (MAP) control on rate of change in PP. We studied 1094 nondiabetics with nephrosclerosis in the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension. Subjects were randomly assigned to usual MAP goal (102–107 mmHg) or a lower MAP goal (≤92 mmHg) and randomized to beta-blocker, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor, or calcium channel blocker. After covariate adjustment, a higher PP was associated with increased risk of CV outcome (RR = 1.28, CI = 1.11–1.47, P < 0.01) and new LVH (RR = 1.26, CI = 1.04–1.54, P = 0.02). PP increased at a greater rate in the usual than in lower MAP groups (slope ± SE: 1.08 ± 0.15 versus 0.42 ± 0.15 mmHg/year, P = 0.002), but not by the antihypertensive treatment assignment. Observations indicate that control to a lower MAP slows the progression of PP, a correlate of cardiovascular remodeling and complications, and may be beneficial to CV health.
PMCID: PMC3786477  PMID: 24102027
12.  Estimating GFR Among Participants in the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study 
Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is considered the best measure of kidney function, but repeated assessment is not feasible in most research studies.
Study Design
Cross-sectional study of 1,433 participants from the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study (i.e., the GFR subcohort) to derive an internal GFR estimating equation using a split sample approach.
Setting & Participants
Adults from 7 US metropolitan areas with mild to moderate chronic kidney disease; 48% had diabetes and 37% were black.
Index Test
CRIC GFR estimating equation
Reference Test or Outcome
Urinary 125I-iothalamate clearance testing (measured GFR)
Other Measurements
Laboratory measures including serum creatinine and cystatin C, and anthropometrics
In the validation dataset, the model that included serum creatinine, serum cystatin C, age, gender, and race was the most parsimonious and similarly predictive of mGFR compared to a model additionally including bioelectrical impedance analysis phase angle, CRIC clinical center, and 24-hour urinary creatinine excretion. Specifically, the root mean square errors for the separate model were 0.207 vs. 0.202, respectively. The performance of the CRIC GFR estimating equation was most accurate among the subgroups of younger participants, men, non-blacks, non-Hispanics, those without diabetes, those with body mass index <30 kg/m2, those with higher 24-hour urine creatinine excretion, those with lower levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and those with higher mGFR.
Urinary clearance of 125I-iothalamate is an imperfect measure of true GFR; cystatin C is not standardized to certified reference material; lack of external validation; small sample sizes limit analyses of subgroup-specific predictors.
The CRIC GFR estimating equation predicts measured GFR accurately in the CRIC cohort using serum creatinine and cystatin C, age, gender, and race. Its performance was best among younger and healthier participants.
PMCID: PMC3565578  PMID: 22658574
glomerular filtration rate (GFR); kidney function; GFR estimation
13.  Updated comorbidity assessments and outcomes in prevalent hemodialysis patients 
When evaluating clinical characteristics and outcomes in patients on hemodialysis, the prevalence and severity of comorbidity may change over time. Knowing whether updated assessments of comorbidity enhance predictive power will assist the design of future studies. We conducted a secondary data analysis of 846 prevalent hemodialysis patients from 5 US clinical centers enrolled in the HEMO study. Our primary explanatory variable was the Index of Coexistent Diseases score, which aggregates comorbidities, as a time-constant and time-varying covariate. Our outcomes of interest were all-cause mortality, time to first hospitalization, and total hospitalizations. We used Cox proportional hazards regression. Accounting for an updated comorbidity assessment over time yielded a more robust association with mortality than accounting for baseline comorbidity alone. The variation explained by time-varying comorbidity assessments on time to death was greater than age, baseline serum albumin, diabetes, or any other covariates. There was a less pronounced advantage of updated comorbidity assessments on determining time to hospitalization. Updated assessments of comorbidity significantly strengthen the ability to predict death in patients on hemodialysis. Future studies in dialysis should invest the necessary resources to include repeated assessments of comorbidity.
PMCID: PMC3683592  PMID: 20955281
Comorbidity; hemodialysis; HEMO study; hospitalization; mortality; Index of Coexistent Diseases (ICED)
14.  Imprecision of Urinary Iothalamate Clearance as a Gold Standard Measure of GFR Decreases the Diagnostic Accuracy of Kidney Function Estimating Equations 
Evaluating the accuracy of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) derived from serum creatinine (SCr) and serum cystatin C (SCysC) equations requires gold standard measures of GFR. However, the influence of imprecise measured GFRs (mGFRs) on estimates of equation error is unknown.
Study Design
Diagnostic test study
Setting & Participants
1995 participants from the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) Study and African American Study of Kidney Disease (AASK) with at least two baseline mGFRs from125I-iothalamate urinary clearances, one standardized Scr value, and one SCysC value.
Index Tests
eGFRs calculated from the 4-variable IDMS-traceable MDRD Study equation, the CKD-EPI SCysC equation, the CKD-EPI SCr-SCysC equation, and mGFRs collected from another pre-randomization visit
Reference Tests
A single reference mGFR, average of two, and average of three mGFRs; additional analysis limited to consistent mGFRs (difference fl 25% from the reference mGFR)
We found that mGFRs had stable means but substantial variability across visits. Of all the mGFRs collected a mean of 62 days apart from the reference visit, 8.0% fell outside 30% of the single reference mGFR (1-P30). The estimation equations were less accurate as 12.1%, 17.1% and 8.3% of the eGFR from MDRD Study, CKD-EPI SCysC, and CKD-EPI SCr-SCysC equations fell outside 30% of the same gold standard (1-P30). However, improving the precision of the reference test from a single mGFR to the average of three consistent mGFRs reduced these error estimates (1-P30) to 8.0%, 12.5% and 3.9% respectively.
Study population limited to those with CKD.
Imprecision in gold standard measures of GFR contribute to an appreciable proportion of the cases where estimated and measured GFR differs by more than 30%. Reducing and quantifying errors in gold standard measurements of GFR is critical to fully estimating the accuracy of GFR estimates.
PMCID: PMC3671926  PMID: 20537455
gold standard; measured glomerular filtration rate; kidney function estimation equations; cystatin C; creatinine
15.  Intensive Blood-Pressure Control in Hypertensive Chronic Kidney Disease 
The New England journal of medicine  2010;363(10):918-929.
In observational studies, the relationship between blood pressure and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) is direct and progressive. The burden of hypertension-related chronic kidney disease and ESRD is especially high among black patients. Yet few trials have tested whether intensive blood-pressure control retards the progression of chronic kidney disease among black patients.
We randomly assigned 1094 black patients with hypertensive chronic kidney disease to receive either intensive or standard blood-pressure control. After completing the trial phase, patients were invited to enroll in a cohort phase in which the blood-pressure target was less than 130/80 mm Hg. The primary clinical outcome in the cohort phase was the progression of chronic kidney disease, which was defined as a doubling of the serum creatinine level, a diagnosis of ESRD, or death. Follow-up ranged from 8.8 to 12.2 years.
During the trial phase, the mean blood pressure was 130/78 mm Hg in the intensive-control group and 141/86 mm Hg in the standard-control group. During the cohort phase, corresponding mean blood pressures were 131/78 mm Hg and 134/78 mm Hg. In both phases, there was no significant between-group difference in the risk of the primary outcome (hazard ratio in the intensive-control group, 0.91; P = 0.27). However, the effects differed according to the baseline level of proteinuria (P = 0.02 for interaction), with a potential benefit in patients with a protein-to-creatinine ratio of more than 0.22 (hazard ratio, 0.73; P = 0.01).
In overall analyses, intensive blood-pressure control had no effect on kidney disease progression. However, there may be differential effects of intensive blood-pressure control in patients with and those without baseline proteinuria. (Funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and others.)
PMCID: PMC3662974  PMID: 20818902
16.  Longitudinal Progression Trajectory of GFR Among Patients With CKD 
The traditional paradigm of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) progression among chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients is a steady, nearly linear decline over time. We describe individual GFR progression trajectories over twelve years of follow-up among participants in the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK).
Study Design
Longitudinal, observational study
Setting & Participants
846 AASK patients with at least 3 years of follow-up and 8 GFR estimates.
Longitudinal GFR estimates (eGFR) from creatinine-based equations.
Patient demographic and clinical features.
Probability of a nonlinear trajectory and probability of a period of nonprogression, calculated for each patient from a Bayesian model of individual eGFR trajectories.
Three hundred and fifty-two (41.6%) patients exhibited a greater than 0.9 probability of having either a nonlinear trajectory or a prolonged nonprogression period; in 559 (66.1%), the probability was larger than 0.5. Baseline eGFR > 40 mL/min/1.73m2 and urine protein-creatinine < 0.22 g/g were associated with a higher likelihood of a nonprogression period. Seventy-four patients (8.7%) had both a substantial period of stable or increasing eGFR and a substantial period of rapid eGFR decline.
Clinical trial population; absence of direct GFR measurements.
In contrast to the traditional paradigm of steady GFR progression over time, many CKD patients have a non-linear GFR trajectory or a prolonged period of nonprogression. These findings highlight the possibility that stable kidney disease progression can accelerate, and, conversely provide hope that CKD need not be relentlessly progressive. These results should encourage researchers to identify time-dependent factors associated with periods of nonprogression and other desirable trajectories.
PMCID: PMC3312980  PMID: 22284441
Chronic kidney disease; estimated glomerular filtration rate; nonlinear progression; longitudinal cohort study; African American; slope
17.  Determinants of Left Ventricular Mass in Patients on Hemodialysis: the Frequent Hemodialysis Network (FHN) Trials 
An increase in left ventricular mass (LVM) is associated with mortality and cardiovascular morbidity in patients with end-stage renal disease.
Methods and Results
The Frequent Hemodialysis Network (FHN) Daily Trial randomized 245 patients to 12 months of 6 times per week daily in-center hemodialysis or conventional hemodialysis; the FHN Nocturnal Trial randomized 87 patients to 12 months of 6 times per week nocturnal hemodialysis or conventional hemodialysis. The main cardiac secondary outcome was change in LVM. In each trial, we examined whether several pre-defined baseline demographic or clinical factors, as well as change in volume removal, blood pressure or solute clearance influenced the effect of frequent hemodialysis on LVM. In the Daily Trial, frequent hemodialysis resulted in a significant reduction in LVM (13.1(95% CI 5.0 to 21.3) g, p=0.002), LVM index (6.9 (2.4 to 11.3) g/m2, p=0.003) and percent change in geometric mean of LVM (7.0 (1.0 to 12.6)%, p =0.02). Similar trends were noted in the Nocturnal Trial but did not reach statistical significance. In the Daily Trial, a more pronounced effect of frequent hemodialysis on LVM was evident among patients with left ventricular hypertrophy at baseline. Changes in LVM were associated with changes in blood pressure (conventional hemodialysis: R=0.28, P=0.01, daily hemodialysis: R=0.54, P<0.001) and were not significantly associated with changes in other parameters.
Frequent in-center hemodialysis reduces LVM. The benefit of frequent hemodialysis on LVM may be mediated by salutary effects on blood pressure.
PMCID: PMC3328963  PMID: 22360996
Left Ventricular Mass; Frequent Hemodialysis; Daily Hemodialysis; Nocturnal Hemodialysis; Blood Pressure
18.  Dietary phosphorus intake and mortality in moderate chronic kidney disease: NHANES III 
Dietary phosphorus intake is usually restricted in dialysis patients but the associations of dietary phosphorus intake with mortality in moderate chronic kidney disease (CKD) are unknown. Therefore, we examined these associations in National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III.
Dietary phosphorus intake was estimated from 24-h dietary recalls administered by trained personnel. CKD was defined as estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) <60 mL/min/1.73 m2. Time to mortality was examined by Cox regression models taking into account the complex survey design.
1105 adults with CKD were studied. Phosphorus intake was 1033 ± 482 mg/day (mean ± SD), eGFR was 49.3 ± 9.5 mL/min/1.73 m2 and serum phosphorus was 3.5 ± 0.5 mg/dL. Compared to those in the lowest tertile of phosphorus intake (mean 532 ± 161 mg/day), those in the highest third (1478 ± 378 mg/day) had similar serum phosphorus levels (3.6 ± 0.5 versus 3.5 ± 0.6 mg/dL, P = 0.113) and modestly higher eGFR (50.0 ± 8.1 versus 47.5 ± 12.0 mL/min/1.73 m2, P = 0.014). After adjustment for demographics, comorbidity, eGFR, physical activity, energy intake and nutritional variables, phosphorus intake was not associated with mortality [hazard ratio (HR) 0.98 per 100 mg/dL increase, 0.93–1.03].
High dietary phosphorus intake is not associated with increased mortality in moderate CKD, presumably because serum phosphorus levels are maintained in the normal range at this level of GFR. Interventional trials are needed to define optimal phosphorus intake in moderate CKD.
PMCID: PMC3350356  PMID: 21810769
dietary phosphorus intake; mortality; moderate chronic kidney disease
19.  The effects of frequent nocturnal home hemodialysis: the Frequent Hemodialysis Network Nocturnal Trial 
Kidney international  2011;80(10):1080-1091.
Prior small studies have shown multiple benefits of frequent nocturnal hemodialysis compared to conventional three times per week treatments. To study this further, we randomized 87 patients to three times per week conventional hemodialysis or to nocturnal hemodialysis six times per week, all with single-use high-flux dialyzers. The 45 patients in the frequent nocturnal arm had a 1.82-fold higher mean weekly stdKt/Vurea, a 1.74-fold higher average number of treatments per week, and a 2.45-fold higher average weekly treatment time than the 42 patients in the conventional arm. We did not find a significant effect of nocturnal hemodialysis for either of the two coprimary outcomes (death or left ventricular mass (measured by MRI) with a hazard ratio of 0.68, or of death or RAND Physical Health Composite with a hazard ratio of 0.91). Possible explanations for the left ventricular mass result include limited sample size and patient characteristics. Secondary outcomes included cognitive performance, self-reported depression, laboratory markers of nutrition, mineral metabolism and anemia, blood pressure and rates of hospitalization, and vascular access interventions. Patients in the nocturnal arm had improved control of hyperphosphatemia and hypertension, but no significant benefit among the other main secondary outcomes. There was a trend for increased vascular access events in the nocturnal arm. Thus, we were unable to demonstrate a definitive benefit of more frequent nocturnal hemodialysis for either coprimary outcome.
PMCID: PMC3569086  PMID: 21775973
hemodialysis; left ventricular mass; nocturnal hemodialysis; RAND physical health composite (PHC) SF-36; randomized clinical trial; vascular access
20.  Quality of Life and Psychosocial Factors in African Americans with Hypertensive Chronic Kidney Disease 
Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is poorly understood in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) prior to end-stage renal disease. The association between psychosocial measures and HRQOL has not been fully explored in CKD, especially in African Americans. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of HRQOL and its association with sociodemographic and psychosocial factors in African Americans with hypertensive CKD.
There were 639 participants in the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension Cohort Study. The Short Form-36 was used to measure HRQOL. The Diener Satisfaction with Life Scale measured life satisfaction, the Beck Depression Inventory-II assessed depression, the Coping Skills Inventory-Short Form measured coping, and the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List-16 was used to measure social support.
Mean participant age was 60 years at enrollment, and 61% were male. Forty-two percent reported a household income below $15,000/year. Higher levels of social support, coping skills, and life satisfaction were associated with higher HRQOL, while unemployment and depression were associated with lower HRQOL (p<0.05). There was a significant positive association between higher estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) with the Physical Health Composite (PHC) score (p=0.004) but not the Mental Health Composite (MHC) score (p=0.24).
Unemployment was associated with lower HRQOL, and lower eGFR was associated with lower PHC. African Americans with hypertensive CKD with better social support and coping skills had higher HRQOL. This study demonstrates an association between CKD and low HRQOL and highlights the need for longitudinal studies to further examine this association.
PMCID: PMC3240805  PMID: 22153804
21.  Cognitive Function and the Risk of Death in Chronic Kidney Disease 
American Journal of Nephrology  2011;35(1):49-57.
Background and Aims
Cognitive impairment is a risk factor for death in dialysis patients and the general population. We sought to determine if cognitive impairment is associated with death in people with non-dialysis-dependent chronic kidney disease (CKD), and if so, whether this relationship is greater in the CKD population compared to the general population.
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey-III participants older than 60 years were asked to subtract 3 from 20 five times and to perform immediate and delayed recall of three items. A cognitive score of 0–11 was assigned based on the number of correct responses. Participants were categorized according to cognitive score (11, 9–10, 6–9, and 0–5) and CKD status. Survival analyses were conducted using Cox models.
Within the CKD subpopulation, those in the lowest cognitive score group had a twofold increased hazard of death compared to those with maximum score. Within the non-CKD subpopulation, those in the lowest cognitive score group had a 46% increased hazard of death compared to those with maximum score. However, the difference in the hazards of death in the CKD and non-CKD subpopulations with the lowest cognitive score was not significant (p = 0.99).
Low cognitive score is associated with an increased risk of death in elderly individuals with and without CKD; however, there was no interaction of CKD and low cognitive score in this analysis.
PMCID: PMC3254030  PMID: 22189005
Cognitive function; Cognitive score; Chronic kidney disease; Mortality
22.  The Effect of Frequent Hemodialysis on Nutrition and Body Composition: Frequent Hemodialysis Network Trial 
Kidney International  2012;82(1):90-99.
We investigated the effects of frequency of hemodialysis on nutritional status by analyzing the data in the Frequent Hemodialysis Network Trial. We compared changes in albumin, body weight and composition among 245 patients randomized to 6- or 3-times per week in-center hemodialysis (Daily Trial) and 87 patients randomized to 6-times per week nocturnal or 3-times per week conventional hemodialysis, performed largely at home (Nocturnal Trial). In the Daily Trial, there were no significant differences between groups in changes in serum albumin or the equilibrated protein catabolic rate by 12 months. There was a significant relative decrease in pre-dialysis body weight of 1.5 ± 0.2 kg in the 6 times per week group at one month, but this significantly rebounded by 1.3 ± 0.5 kg over the remaining 11 months. Extracellular water decreased in the 6 times per week compared to the 3 per week hemodialysis group. There were no significant between-group differences in phase angle, intracellular water or body cell mass. In the Nocturnal Trial, there were no significant between-group differences in any study parameter. Any gain in “dry” body weight corresponded to increased adiposity rather than muscle mass but was not statistically significant. Thus, frequent in-center hemodialysis reduced extracellular water but did not increase serum albumin or body cell mass while frequent nocturnal hemodialysis yielded no net effect on parameters of nutritional status or body composition.
PMCID: PMC3328304  PMID: 22456602
23.  Bone Resorption in Syndromes of the Ras/MAPK Pathway 
Clinical genetics  2011;80(6):566-573.
Disorders of the Ras/MAPK pathway have an overlapping skeletal phenotype (eg. scoliosis, osteopenia). The Ras proteins regulate cell proliferation and differentiation and NF1 individuals have osteoclast hyperactivity and increased bone resorption as measured by urine pyridinium crosslinks [pyridinoline (Pyd) and deoxypyridinoline (Dpd)]. Pyd and Dpd are hydroxylysine derived cross-links of collagen found in bone and cartilage and excreted in the urine. Dpd is most abundant in bone. The aim of this study was to evaluate if other syndromes of the Ras/MAPK pathway have increased bone resorption, which may impact the skeletal phenotype.
Methods and Results
Participants: [Noonan syndrome (n=14), Costello syndrome (n=21), and cardiofaciocutaneous (CFC) syndrome (n=14)]. Pyridinium cross-links from two consecutive first morning urines were extracted after acid hydrolysis and analyzed by High Performance Liquid Chromotography. Three separate analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) were performed to compare Pyd, Dpd, and Dpd/Pyd ratio of each group to controls after controlling for age. Data were compared to 99 healthy controls.
The Dpd and the Dpd/Pyd ratio were elevated (p<0.0001) in all 3 conditions compared to controls suggesting that collagen degradation was predominantly from bone. The data suggest that the Ras/MAPK signal transduction pathway is important in bone homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC3246507  PMID: 21204800
bone; cardiofaciocutaneous syndrome; Costello syndrome; Noonan syndrome; pyridinium
24.  Factors associated with intern noncompliance with the 2003 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s 30-hour duty period requirement 
BMC Medical Education  2012;12:33.
In 2003 the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education mandated work hour restrictions. Violations can results in a residency program being cited or placed on probation. Recurrent violations could results in loss of accreditation. We wanted to determine specific intern and workload factors associated with violation of a specific mandate, the 30-hour duty period requirement.
Retrospective review of interns’ performance against the 30-hour duty period requirement during inpatient ward rotations at a pediatric residency program between June 24, 2008 and June 23, 2009. The analytical plan included both univariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses.
Twenty of the 26 (77%) interns had 80 self-reported episodes of continuous work hours greater than 30 hours. In multivariable analysis, noncompliance was inversely associated with the number of prior inpatient rotations (odds ratio: 0.49, 95% confidence interval (0.38, 0.64) per rotation) but directly associated with the total number of patients (odds ratio: 1.30 (1.10, 1.53) per additional patient). The number of admissions on-call, number of admissions after midnight and number of discharges post-call were not significantly associated with noncompliance. The level of noncompliance also varied significantly between interns after accounting for intern experience and workload factors. Subject to limitations in statistical power, we were unable to identify specific intern characteristics, such as demographic variables or examination scores, which account for the variation in noncompliance between interns.
Both intern and workload factors were associated with pediatric intern noncompliance with the 30-hour duty period requirement during inpatient ward rotations. Residency programs must develop information systems to understand the individual and experience factors associated with noncompliance and implement appropriate interventions to ensure compliance with the duty hour regulations.
PMCID: PMC3398848  PMID: 22621439
25.  Limitations of analyses based on achieved blood pressure: Lessons from the AASK trial 
Hypertension  2011;57(6):1061-1068.
Blood pressure (BP) guidelines that set target BP levels often rely on analyses of achieved BP from hypertension treatment trials. The objective of this paper was to compare the results of analyses of achieved BP to intention-to-treat analyses on renal disease progression. Participants (n=1,094) in the African-American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension Trial were randomized to either: (1) usual BP goal defined by a mean arterial pressure (MAP) goal of 102–107 mmHg or (2) lower BP goal defined by a MAP goal of ≤ 92 mmHg. Median follow-up was 3.7 years. Primary outcomes were rate of decline in measured glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and a composite of a decrease in GFR by > 50% or >25 ml/min/1.73m2, requirement for dialysis, transplantation, or death. Intention-to-treat analyses showed no evidence of a BP effect on either the rate of decline in GFR or the clinical composite outcome. In contrast, the achieved BP analyses showed that each 10 mm Hg increment in mean follow-up achieved MAP was associated with a 0.35 (95% CI 0.08 – 0.62, p = 0.01) ml/min/1.73m2 faster mean GFR decline and a 17% (95% CI 5% – 32%, p = 0.006) increased risk of the clinical composite outcome. Analyses based on achieved BP lead to markedly different inferences than traditional intention-to-treat analyses, due in part to confounding of achieved BP with co- morbidities, disease severity and adherence. Clinicians and policy makers should exercise caution when making treatment recommendations based on analyses relating outcomes to achieved BP.
PMCID: PMC3150108  PMID: 21555676
blood pressure control; African Americans; hypertension treatment; renal disease

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