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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Johns Hopkins: Heart Disease Linked to Higher Risk of Kidney Failure

New research indicates that cardiovascular diseases — including heart failure, atrial fibrillation, coronary heart disease, and stroke — are each linked with a higher risk of developing kidney failure. The findings, which appeared January 9 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, highlight the importance of protecting the kidney health of individuals diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. The study was conducted by a team led by Dr. Kunihiro Matsushita,  associate professor, and Dr. Junichi Ishigami, assistant scientist, in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s department of epidemiology,

The heart and the kidneys have a two-way relationship, whereby dysfunction in either may compromise the function of the other. Many studies have investigated the risks of kidney disease on heart health, but few have examined the reciprocal relationship.

To investigate, the research team examined information on 9,047 U.S. adults who did not have signs of heart disease when they enrolled in a community-based study. During a median follow-up of 17.5 years, 2,598 participants were hospitalized with cardiovascular disease — 1,269 with heart failure, 1,337 with atrial fibrillation, 696 with coronary heart disease, and 559 with stroke — and 210 patients developed kidney failure.

The incidence of major cardiovascular disease was associated with a higher risk of kidney failure, with the highest risk for heart failure. Participants hospitalized with heart failure had an 11.4-times higher risk of developing kidney failure than participants without cardiovascular disease.

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