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1.  The association between renal function and structural parameters: a pig study 
BMC Nephrology  2008;9:18.
Background
The objective was to investigate the association between renal structural parameters and renal function. The structural parameters were renal cortical volume, total renal volume, number of glomeruli, and total glomerular volume, and renal function was expressed by the single kidney GFR (skGFR). Investigations were performed using both healthy and chronically diseased kidneys. We investigated which of the structural parameters showed the best correlation to renal function and evaluated the possibility of predicting the renal function from structural parameters.
Methods
Twenty-four pigs, twelve with healthy kidneys and twelve with diseased kidneys, underwent skGFR measurements. Nephrectomies were performed and structural parameters were estimated using stereological procedures. The correlation between the structural parameters and skGFR was analysed by Pearson's correlation test. The prediction of skGFR from structural parameters was analysed by a linear regression test.
Results
In general, we demonstrated a good correlation between structural parameters and skGFR. When all kidneys were evaluated together Pearson's correlation coefficient between skGFR and any stereological parameter was above 0.60 and highly significant (p < 0.001), and with r-values ranging from 0.62 regarding number of glomeruli, to 0.78 regarding cortical volume. The best correlation was found between cortical volume and skGFR. Prediction of single kidney GFR from any structural parameter showed to be quite imprecise.
Conclusion
The observed correlations between structural parameters and renal function suggest that these parameters may potentially be useful as surrogate markers of the renal function. At present, however, precise prediction of renal function based on a single structural parameter seems hard to obtain.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-9-18
PMCID: PMC2631490  PMID: 19105815
2.  Astaxanthin vs placebo on arterial stiffness, oxidative stress and inflammation in renal transplant patients (Xanthin): a randomised controlled trial 
BMC Nephrology  2008;9:17.
Background
There is evidence that renal transplant recipients have accelerated atherosclerosis manifest by increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The high incidence of atherosclerosis is, in part, related to increased arterial stiffness, vascular dysfunction, elevated oxidative stress and inflammation associated with immunosuppressive therapy. The dietary supplement astaxanthin has shown promise as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory therapeutic agent in cardiovascular disease. The aim of this trial is to investigate the effects of astaxanthin supplementation on arterial stiffness, oxidative stress and inflammation in renal transplant patients.
Method and Design
This is a randomised, placebo controlled clinical trial. A total of 66 renal transplant recipients will be enrolled and allocated to receive either 12 mg/day of astaxanthin or an identical placebo for one-year. Patients will be stratified into four groups according to the type of immunosuppressant therapy they receive: 1) cyclosporine, 2) sirolimus, 3) tacrolimus or 4) prednisolone+/-azathioprine, mycophenolate mofetil or mycophenolate sodium. Primary outcome measures will be changes in 1) arterial stiffness measured by aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV), 2) oxidative stress assessed by plasma isoprostanes and 3) inflammation by plasma pentraxin 3. Secondary outcomes will include changes in vascular function assessed using the brachial artery reactivity (BAR) technique, carotid artery intimal medial thickness (CIMT), augmentation index (AIx), left ventricular afterload and additional measures of oxidative stress and inflammation. Patients will undergo these measures at baseline, six and 12 months.
Discussion
The results of this study will help determine the efficacy of astaxanthin on vascular structure, oxidative stress and inflammation in renal transplant patients. This may lead to a larger intervention trial assessing cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
Trial Registration
ACTRN12608000159358
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-9-17
PMCID: PMC2666668  PMID: 19091127
3.  Optimal and continuous anaemia control in a cohort of dialysis patients in Switzerland 
BMC Nephrology  2008;9:16.
Background
Guidelines for the management of anaemia in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) recommend a minimal haemoglobin (Hb) target of 11 g/dL. Recent surveys indicate that this requirement is not met in many patients in Europe. In most studies, Hb is only assessed over a short-term period. The aim of this study was to examine the control of anaemia over a continuous long-term period in Switzerland.
Methods
A prospective multi-centre observational study was conducted in dialysed patients treated with recombinant human epoetin (EPO) beta, over a one-year follow-up period, with monthly assessments of anaemia parameters.
Results
Three hundred and fifty patients from 27 centres, representing 14% of the dialysis population in Switzerland, were included. Mean Hb was 11.9 ± 1.0 g/dL, and remained stable over time. Eighty-five % of the patients achieved mean Hb ≥ 11 g/dL. Mean EPO dose was 155 ± 118 IU/kg/week, being delivered mostly by subcutaneous route (64–71%). Mean serum ferritin and transferrin saturation were 435 ± 253 μg/L and 30 ± 11%, respectively. At month 12, adequate iron stores were found in 72.5% of patients, whereas absolute and functional iron deficiencies were observed in only 5.1% and 17.8%, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed that diabetes unexpectedly influenced Hb towards higher levels (12.1 ± 0.9 g/dL; p = 0.02). One year survival was significantly higher in patients with Hb ≥ 11 g/dL than in those with Hb <11 g/dL (19.7% vs 7.3%, p = 0.006).
Conclusion
In comparison to European studies of reference, this survey shows a remarkable and continuous control of anaemia in Swiss dialysis centres. These results were reached through moderately high EPO doses, mostly given subcutaneously, and careful iron therapy management.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-9-16
PMCID: PMC2621153  PMID: 19077225
4.  Arterial line pressure control enhanced extracorporeal blood flow prescription in hemodialysis patients 
BMC Nephrology  2008;9:15.
Background
In hemodialysis, extracorporeal blood flow (Qb) recommendation is 300–500 mL/min. To achieve the best Qb, we based our prescription on dynamic arterial line pressure (DALP).
Methods
This prospective study included 72 patients with catheter Group 1 (G1), 1877 treatments and 35 arterio-venous (AV) fistulae Group 2 (G2), 1868 treatments. The dialysis staff was trained to prescribe Qb sufficient to obtain DALP between -200 to -250 mmHg. We measured ionic clearance (IK: mL/min), access recirculation, DALP (mmHg) and Qb (mL/min). Six prescription zones were identified: from an optimal A zone (Qb > 400, DALP -200 to -250) to zones with lower Qb E (Qb < 300, DALP -200 to -250) and F (Qb < 300, DALP > -199).
Results
Treatments distribution in A was 695 (37%) in G1 vs. 704 (37.7%) in G2 (P = 0.7). In B 150 (8%) in G1 vs. 458 (24.5%) in G2 (P < 0.0001). Recirculation in A was 10.0% (Inter quartile rank, IQR 6.5, 14.2) in G1 vs. 9.8% (IQR 7.5, 14.1) in G2 (P = 0.62). IK in A was 214 ± 34 (G1) vs. 213 ± 35 (G2) (P = 0.65). IK Anova between G2 zones was: A vs. C and D (P < 0.000001). Staff prescription adherence was 81.3% (G1) vs. 84.1% (G2) (P = 0.02).
Conclusion
In conclusion, an optimal Qb can de prescribed with DALP of -200 mmHg. Staff adherence to DLAP treatment prescription could be reached up to 81.3% in catheters and 84.1% in AV fistulae.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-9-15
PMCID: PMC2613872  PMID: 19025625
5.  Quality of life, mental health and health beliefs in haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis patients: Investigating differences in early and later years of current treatment 
BMC Nephrology  2008;9:14.
Background
The study examines differences regarding quality of life (QoL), mental health and illness beliefs between in-centre haemodialysis (HD) and continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD/PD) patients. Differences are examined between patients who recently commenced treatment compared to patients on long term treatment.
Methods
144 End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) patients were recruited from three treatment units, of which 135 provided full data on the variables studied. Patients consisted of: a) 77 in-centre haemodialysis (HD) and 58 continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD/PD) patients, all currently being treated by dialysis for varied length of time. Patients were compared for differences after being grouped into those who recently commenced treatment (< 4 years) and those on long term treatment (> 4 years). Next, cases were selected as to form two equivalent groups of HD and CAPD/PD patients in terms of length of treatment and sociodemographic variables. The groups consisted of: a) 41 in-centre haemodialysis (HD) and b) 48 continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD/PD) patients, fitting the selection criteria of recent commencement of treatment and similar sociodemographic characteristics. Patient-reported assessments included: WHOQOL-BREF, GHQ-28 and the MHLC, which is a health locus of control inventory.
Results
Differences in mean scores were mainly observed in the HD patients with > 4 years of treatment, providing lower mean scores in the QoL domains of physical health, social relationships and environment, as well as in overall mental health. Differences in CAPD/PD groups, between those in early and those in later years of treatment, were not found to be large and significant. Concerning the analysis on equivalent groups derived from selection of cases, HD patients indicated significantly lower mean scores in the QoL domain of environment and higher scores in the GHQ-28 subscales of anxiety/insomnia and severe depression, indicating more symptoms in these areas of mental health. With regards to illness beliefs, HD patients who recently commenced treatment provided higher mean scores in the dimension of internal health locus of control, while CAPD/PD patients on long term treatment indicated higher mean scores in the dimension of chance. Regarding differences in health beliefs between equivalent groups of HD and CAPD/PD patients, HD patients focused more on the dimension of internal health locus of control.
Conclusion
The results provide evidence that patients in HD treatment modality, particularly those with many years of treatment, were experiencing a more compromised QoL in comparison to CAPD/PD patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-9-14
PMCID: PMC2611965  PMID: 19014597
6.  NPHS2 variation in focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis 
BMC Nephrology  2008;9:13.
Background
Focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is the most common histologic pattern of renal injury seen in adults with idiopathic proteinuria. Homozygous or compound heterozygous mutations in the podocin gene NPHS2 are found in 10–30% of pediatric cases of steroid resistant nephrosis and/or FSGS.
Methods
We studied the spectrum of genetic variation in 371 individuals with predominantly late onset FSGS (mean age of onset 25 years) by analysis of DNA samples.
Results
We identified 15 non-synonymous alleles that changed the amino acid sequence in 63 of the subjects screened (17%). Eight of these (p.R138Q, p.V180M, p.R229Q, p.E237Q, p.A242V, p.A284V, p.L327F and the frameshift 855–856 delAA) are alleles previously reported to cause FSGS in either the homozygous or compound heterozygous states, while the remaining 7 (p.R10T, p.V127W, p.Q215X, p.T232I, p.L270F, p.L312V and the frameshift 397delA) are novel alleles that have not been demonstrated previously. Twelve individuals of the 371 (3.2%) screened had two likely disease-causing NPHS2 alleles, present in either a homozygous or compound heterozygous state. We genotyped the two most common of the non-synonymous NPHS2 alleles (p.A242V and p.R229Q) identified by resequencing in participants from the Nurses' Health Study and also genotyped p.R229Q in 3 diabetic cohorts. We found that the presence of either of these variants does not significantly alter the risk of albuminuria in the Nurses' Health participants, nor does p.R229Q associate with "diabetic nephropathy".
Conclusion
NPHS2 mutations are a rare cause of FSGS in adults. The most common non-synonymous NPHS2 variants, p.R229Q and p.A242V, do not appear to alter the risk of proteinuria in the general population nor does p.R229Q associate with measures of kidney dysfunction in diabetic individuals. Our results help clarify the frequency of FSGS-causing NPHS2 mutations in adults and broaden our understanding of the spectrum of NPHS2 mutations that lead to human disease.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-9-13
PMCID: PMC2569023  PMID: 18823551
7.  Familial hypomagnesaemia with hypercalciuria and nephrocalcinosis (FHHNC): Compound heterozygous mutation in the claudin 16 (CLDN16) gene 
BMC Nephrology  2008;9:12.
Background
Familial hypomagnesaemia with hypercalciuria and nephrocalcinosis (FHHNC) is an autosomal recessive disorder of renal calcium and magnesium wasting frequently complicated by progressive chronic renal failure in childhood or adolescence.
Methods
A 7 year old boy was investigated following the findings of marked renal insufficiency and nephrocalcinosis in his 18-month old sister. He too was found to have extensive nephrocalcinosis with increased fractional excretion of magnesium: 12.4% (<4%) and hypercalciuria: 5.7 mmol (< 2.5/24 hours). He had renal impairment, partial distal renal tubular acidosis and defective urinary concentrating ability. Therapy with thiazide diuretics and magnesium supplements failed to halt the progression of the disorder. Both children subsequently underwent renal transplantation. Both children's parents are unaffected and there is one unaffected sibling.
Results
Mutation analysis revealed 2 heterozygous mutations in the claudin 16 gene (CLDN16) in both affected siblings; one missense mutation in exon 4: C646T which results in an amino acid change Arg216Cys in the second extracellular loop of CLDN16 and loss of function of the protein and a donor splice site mutation which changes intron 4 consensus splice site from 'GT' to 'TT' resulting in decreased splice efficiency and the formation of a truncated protein with loss of 64 amino acids in the second extracellular loop.
Conclusion
The mutations in CLDN16 in this kindred affect the second extra-cellular loop of claudin 16. The clinical course and molecular findings suggest complete loss of function of the protein in the 2 affected cases and highlight the case for molecular diagnosis in individuals with FHHNC.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-9-12
PMCID: PMC2562370  PMID: 18816383
8.  Serum free light chain measurement aids the diagnosis of myeloma in patients with severe renal failure 
BMC Nephrology  2008;9:11.
Background
Monoclonal free light chains (FLCs) frequently cause rapidly progressive renal failure in patients with multiple myeloma. Immunoassays which provide quantitative measurement of FLCs in serum, have now been adopted into screening algorithms for multiple myeloma and other lymphoproliferative disorders. The assays indicate monoclonal FLC production by the presence of an abnormal κ to λ FLC ratio (reference range 0.26–1.65). Previous work, however, has demonstrated that in patients with renal failure the FLC ratio can be increased above normal with no other evidence of monoclonal proteins suggesting that in this population the range should be extended (reference range 0.37–3.1). This study evaluated the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of the immunoassays in patients with severe renal failure.
Methods
Sera from 142 patients with new dialysis-dependent renal failure were assessed by serum protein electrophoresis (SPE), FLC immunoassays and immunofixation electrophoresis. The sensitivity and specificity of the FLC ratio's published reference range was compared with the modified renal reference range for identifying patients with multiple myeloma; by receiver operating characteristic curve analysis.
Results
Forty one patients had a clinical diagnosis of multiple myeloma; all of these patients had abnormal serum FLC ratios. The modified FLC ratio range increased the specificity of the assays (from 93% to 99%), with no loss of sensitivity. Monoclonal FLCs were identified in the urine from 23 of 24 patients assessed.
Conclusion
Measurement of serum FLC concentrations and calculation of the serum κ/λ ratio is a convenient, sensitive and specific method for identifying monoclonal FLC production in patients with multiple myeloma and acute renal failure. Rapid diagnosis in these patients will allow early initiation of disease specific treatment, such as chemotherapy plus or minus therapies for direct removal of FLCs.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-9-11
PMCID: PMC2564915  PMID: 18808676
9.  Mutant polycystin-2 induces proliferation in primary rat tubular epithelial cells in a STAT-1/p21-independent fashion accompanied instead by alterations in expression of p57KIP2 and Cdk2 
BMC Nephrology  2008;9:10.
Background
Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD) is characterized by the formation of multiple fluid-filled cysts that destroy the kidney architecture resulting in end-stage renal failure. Mutations in genes PKD1 and PKD2 account for nearly all cases of ADPKD. Increased cell proliferation is one of the key features of the disease. Several studies indicated that polycystin-1 regulates cellular proliferation through various signaling pathways, but little is known about the role played by polycystin-2, the product of PKD2. Recently, it was reported that as with polycystin-1, polycystin-2 can act as a negative regulator of cell growth by modulating the levels of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, p21 and the activity of the cyclin-dependent kinase 2, Cdk2.
Methods
Here we utilized different kidney cell-lines expressing wild-type and mutant PKD2 as well as primary tubular epithelial cells isolated from a PKD transgenic rat to further explore the contribution of the p21/Cdk2 pathway in ADPKD proliferation.
Results
Surprisingly, over-expression of wild-type PKD2 in renal cell lines failed to inactivate Cdk2 and consequently had no effect on cell proliferation. On the other hand, expression of mutated PKD2 augmented proliferation only in the primary tubular epithelial cells of a rat model but this was independent of the STAT-1/p21 pathway. On the contrary, multiple approaches revealed unequivocally that expression of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, p57KIP2, is downregulated, while p21 remains unchanged. This p57 reduction is accompanied by an increase in Cdk2 levels.
Conclusion
Our results indicate the probable involvement of p57KIP2 on epithelial cell proliferation in ADPKD implicating a new mechanism for mutant polycystin-2 induced proliferation. Most importantly, contrary to previous studies, abnormal proliferation in cells expressing mutant polycystin-2 appears to be independent of STAT-1/p21.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-9-10
PMCID: PMC2533650  PMID: 18721488
10.  Association of kidney function with inflammatory and procoagulant markers in a diverse cohort: A cross-sectional analysis from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
BMC Nephrology  2008;9:9.
Background
Prior studies using creatinine-based estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) have found limited associations between kidney function and markers of inflammation. Using eGFR and cystatin C, a novel marker of kidney function, the authors investigated the association of kidney function with multiple biomarkers in a diverse cohort.
Methods
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis consists of 6,814 participants of white, African-American, Hispanic, and Chinese descent, enrolled from 2000–2002 from six U.S. communities. Measurements at the enrollment visit included serum creatinine, cystatin C, and six inflammatory and procoagulant biomarkers. Creatinine-based eGFR was estimated using the four-variable Modification of Diet in Renal Disease equation, and chronic kidney disease was defined by an eGFR < 60 mL/min/1.73 m2.
Results
Adjusted partial correlations between cystatin C and all biomarkers were statistically significant: C-reactive protein (r = 0.08), interleukin-6 (r = 0.16), tumor necrosis factor-α soluble receptor 1 (TNF-αR1; r = 0.75), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (r = 0.21), fibrinogen (r = 0.14), and factor VIII (r = 0.11; two-sided p < 0.01 for all). In participants without chronic kidney disease, higher creatinine-based eGFR was associated only with higher TNF-αR1 levels.
Conclusion
In a cohort characterized by ethnic diversity, cystatin C was directly associated with multiple procoagulant and inflammatory markers. Creatinine-based eGFR had similar associations with these biomarkers among subjects with chronic kidney disease.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-9-9
PMCID: PMC2533297  PMID: 18681974
11.  Oxpentifylline versus placebo in the treatment of erythropoietin-resistant anaemia: a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Nephrology  2008;9:8.
Background
The main hypothesis of this study is that Oxpentifylline administration will effectively treat erythropoietin- or darbepoietin-resistant anaemia in chronic kidney disease patients.
Methods/design
Inclusion criteria are adult patients with stage 4 or 5 chronic kidney disease (including dialysis patients) with significant anaemia (haemoglobin ≤ 110 g/L) for at least 3 months for which there is no clear identifiable cause and that is unresponsive to large doses of either erythropoietin (≥ 200 IU/kg/week) or darbepoetin (≥ 1 μg/kg/week). Patients will be randomized 1:1 to receive either placebo (1 tablet daily) or oxpentifylline (400 mg daily) per os for a period of 4 months. During this 4 month study period, haemoglobin measurements will be performed monthly. The primary outcome measure will be the difference in haemoglobin level between the 2 groups at the end of the 4 month study period, adjusted for baseline values. Secondary outcome measures will include erythropoiesis stimulating agent dosage, Key's index (erythropoiesis stimulating agent dosage divided by haemoglobin concentration), and blood transfusion requirement.
Discussion
This investigator-initiated multicentre study has been designed to provide evidence to help nephrologists and their chronic kidney disease patients determine whether oxpentifylline represents a safe and effective strategy for treating erythropoiesis stimulating agent resistance in chronic kidney disease.
Trial Registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry Number ACTRN12608000199314.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-9-8
PMCID: PMC2519060  PMID: 18671885
12.  Podocyte specific knock out of selenoproteins does not enhance nephropathy in streptozotocin diabetic C57BL/6 mice 
BMC Nephrology  2008;9:7.
Background
Selenoproteins contain selenocysteine (Sec), commonly considered the 21st genetically encoded amino acid. Many selenoproteins, such as the glutathione peroxidases and thioredoxin reductases, protect cells against oxidative stress by functioning as antioxidants and/or through their roles in the maintenance of intracellular redox balance. Since oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy, we hypothesized that selenoproteins protect against this complication of diabetes.
Methods
C57BL/6 mice that have a podocyte-specific inability to incorporate Sec into proteins (denoted in this paper as PodoTrsp-/-) and control mice were made diabetic by intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin, or were injected with vehicle. Blood glucose, body weight, microalbuminuria, glomerular mesangial matrix expansion, and immunohistochemical markers of oxidative stress were assessed.
Results
After 3 and 6 months of diabetes, control and PodoTrsp-/- mice had similar levels of blood glucose. There were no differences in urinary albumin/creatinine ratios. Periodic acid-Schiff staining to examine mesangial matrix expansion also demonstrated no difference between control and PodoTrsp-/- mice after 6 months of diabetes, and there were no differences in immunohistochemical stainings for nitrotyrosine or NAD(P)H dehydrogenase, quinone 1.
Conclusion
Loss of podocyte selenoproteins in streptozotocin diabetic C57BL/6 mice does not lead to increased oxidative stress as assessed by nitrotyrosine and NAD(P)H dehydrogenase, quinone 1 immunostaining, nor does it lead to worsening nephropathy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-9-7
PMCID: PMC2494546  PMID: 18647412
13.  Comparative mortality of hemodialysis patients at for-profit and not-for-profit dialysis facilities in the United States, 1998 to 2003: A retrospective analysis 
BMC Nephrology  2008;9:6.
Background
Concern lingers that dialysis therapy at for-profit (versus not-for-profit) hemodialysis facilities in the United States may be associated with higher mortality, even though 4 of every 5 contemporary dialysis patients receive therapy in such a setting.
Methods
Our primary objective was to compare the mortality hazards of patients initiating hemodialysis at for-profit and not-for-profit centers in the United States between 1998 and 2003. For-profit status of dialysis facilities was determined after subjects received 6 months of dialysis therapy, and mean follow-up was 1.7 years.
Results
Of the study population (N = 205,076), 79.9% were dialyzed in for-profit facilities after 6 months of dialysis therapy. Dialysis at for-profit facilities was associated with higher urea reduction ratios, hemoglobin levels (including levels above 12 and 13 g/dL [120 and 130 g/L]), epoetin doses, and use of intravenous iron, and less use of blood transfusions and lower proportions of patients on the transplant waiting-list (P < 0.05). Patients dialyzed at for-profit and at not-for-profit facilities had similar mortality risks (adjusted hazards ratio 1.02, 95% CI 0.99–1.06, P = 0.143).
Conclusion
While hemodialysis treatment at for-profit and not-for-profit dialysis facilities is associated with different patterns of clinical benchmark achievement, mortality rates are similar.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-9-6
PMCID: PMC2474600  PMID: 18582384
14.  Sensitivity of International Classification of Diseases codes for hyponatremia among commercially insured outpatients in the United States 
BMC Nephrology  2008;9:5.
Background
Administrative claims are a rich source of information for epidemiological and health services research; however, the ability to accurately capture specific diseases or complications using claims data has been debated. In this study, the authors examined the validity of International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) diagnosis codes for the identification of hyponatremia in an outpatient managed care population.
Methods
We analyzed outpatient laboratory and professional claims for patients aged 18 years and older in the National Managed Care Benchmark Database from Integrated Healthcare Information Services. We obtained all claims for outpatient serum sodium laboratory tests performed in 2004 and 2005, and all outpatient professional claims with a primary or secondary ICD-9-CM diagnosis code of hyponatremia (276.1).
Results
A total of 40,668 outpatient serum sodium laboratory results were identified as hyponatremic (serum sodium < 136 mmol/L). The sensitivity of ICD-9-CM codes for hyponatremia in outpatient professional claims within 15 days before or after the laboratory date was 3.5%. Even for severe cases (serum sodium ≤ 125 mmol/L), sensitivity was < 30%. Specificity was > 99% for all cutoff points.
Conclusion
ICD-9-CM codes in administrative data are insufficient to identify hyponatremia in an outpatient population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-9-5
PMCID: PMC2447828  PMID: 18564417
15.  The Lipid lowering and Onset of Renal Disease (LORD) Trial: A randomized double blind placebo controlled trial assessing the effect of atorvastatin on the progression of kidney disease 
BMC Nephrology  2008;9:4.
Background
There is evidence that dyslipidemia is associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Experimental studies have established that lipids are damaging to the kidney and animal intervention studies show statins attenuate this damage. Small clinical trials, meta-analyses, observational studies and post-hoc analyses of cardiovascular intervention studies all support the concept that statins can reduce kidney damage in humans. Based on this background, a double blind randomized placebo controlled trial was designed to assess the effectiveness of atorvastatin 10 mg on slowing the progression of kidney disease in a population of patients with CKD.
Method/Design
The Lipid lowering and Onset of Renal Disease (LORD) trial is a three-year, single center, multi-site, double blind, randomized, placebo controlled trial. The primary outcome measure is kidney function measured by eGFR calculated by both Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) and Cockcroft and Gault equations. Secondary outcome measures include kidney function measured by 24-hour urine creatinine clearance and also 24-hour urinary protein excretion, markers of oxidative stress, inflammation and drug safety and tolerability.
Discussion
The results of this study will help determine the effectiveness and safety of atorvastatin and establish its effects on oxidative stress and inflammation in patients with CKD.
Trial Registration
ANZCTRN012605000693628
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-9-4
PMCID: PMC2276485  PMID: 18366658
16.  A systematic review of patient and health system characteristics associated with late referral in chronic kidney disease 
BMC Nephrology  2008;9:3.
Background
To identify patient and health system characteristics associated with late referral of patients with chronic kidney disease to nephrologists.
Methods
MEDLINE, CENTRAL, and CINAHL were searched using the appropriate MESH terms in March 2007. Two reviewers individually and in duplicate reviewed the abstracts of 256 articles and selected 18 observational studies for inclusion. The reasons for late referral were categorized into patient or health system characteristics. Data extraction and content appraisal were done using a prespecified protocol.
Results
Older age, the existence of multiple comorbidities, race other than Caucasian, lack of insurance, lower socioeconomic status and educational levels were patient characteristics associated with late referral of patients with chronic kidney disease. Lack of referring physician knowledge about the appropriate timing of referral, absence of communication between referring physicians and nephrologists, and dialysis care delivered at tertiary medical centers were health system characteristics associated with late referral of patients with chronic kidney disease. Most studies identified multiple factors associated with late referral, although the relative importance and the combined effect of these factors were not systematically evaluated.
Conclusion
A combination of patient and health system characteristics is associated with late referral of patients with chronic kidney disease. Overall, being older, belonging to a minority group, being less educated, being uninsured, suffering from multiple comorbidities, and the lack of communication between primary care physicians and nephrologists contribute to late referral of patients with chronic kidney disease. Both primary care physicians and nephrologists need to engage in multisectoral collaborative efforts that ensure patient education and enhance physician awareness to improve the care of patients with chronic kidney disease.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-9-3
PMCID: PMC2291456  PMID: 18298850
17.  A systematic review of the prevalence and determinants of nonadherence to phosphate binding medication in patients with end-stage renal disease 
BMC Nephrology  2008;9:2.
Background
Cardiovascular events are the leading cause of death in end stage renal disease (ESRD). Adherence to phosphate binding medication plays a vital role in reducing serum phosphorus and associated cardiovascular risk. This poses a challenge for patients as the regimen is often complex and there may be no noticeable impact of adherence on symptoms. There is a need to establish the level of nonadherence to phosphate binding medication in renal dialysis patients and identify the factors associated with it.
Methods
The online databases PsycINFO, Medline, Embase and CINAHL were searched for quantitative studies exploring predictors of nonadherence to phosphate binding medication in ESRD. Rates and predictors of nonadherence were extracted from the papers.
Results
Thirty four studies met the inclusion criteria. There was wide variation in reported rates of non-adherence (22–74% patients nonadherent, mean 51%). This can be partially attributed to differences in the way adherence has been defined and measured. Demographic and clinical predictors of nonadherence were most frequently assessed but only younger age was consistently associated with nonadherence. In contrast psychosocial variables (e.g. patients' beliefs about medication, social support, personality characteristics) were less frequently assessed but were more likely to be associated with nonadherence.
Conclusion
Nonadherence to phosphate binding medication appears to be prevalent in ESRD. Several potentially modifiable psychosocial factors were identified as predictors of nonadherence. There is a need for further, high-quality research to explore these factors in more detail, with the aim of informing the design of an intervention to facilitate adherence.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-9-2
PMCID: PMC2270809  PMID: 18237373
18.  Prevalence and determinants of microalbuminuria among diabetic patients in the United Arab Emirates 
BMC Nephrology  2008;9:1.
Background
Microalbuminuria (MA) represents the earliest clinical evidence of diabetic nephropathy and is a predictor of increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of MA among diabetic patients in the Al-Ain district of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Methods
The study was part of a general cross-sectional survey carried out to assess the prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) complications in Al-Ain district, UAE and was the first to assess the prevalence of MA among diabetic patients. A sample of 513 diabetic patients with a mean age of 53 years (SD: ± 13) was randomly selected during 2003/2004. All patients completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire and underwent medical assessment. First morning urine collections were obtained and were tested for clinical proteinuria using urine dipsticks and for MA using the single Micral-Test II strips.
Results
MA was found in 61% (95% CI: 56.7–65.7) of the sample and the rate was significantly higher among males, positively related to body mass index (BMI), type 2 DM and presence of other DM complications such as diabetic retinopathy and neuropathy. Of the total sample population, 12.5% (95% CI: 8.1-14.1) had clinical proteinuria.
Conclusion
The prevalence rate of MA was considerably high ( 61%) among diabetic patients in the UAE. Therefore, regular screening for MA is recommended for all diabetic patients, as early treatment is critical for reducing cardiovascular risks and slowing the progression to late stages of diabetic nephropathy (overt proteinuria and end-stage renal disease).
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-9-1
PMCID: PMC2270810  PMID: 18230135

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