On extremely hot days, people suffering from advanced kidney disease face higher risk of hospitalization and death, according to new findings by University of Maryland School of Public Health researchers.
The study, led by Dr. Amir Sapkota, associate professor of applied environmental health, was based on an analysis of over 7,000 patients. It is the first to show that race and ethnicity, geography and co-occurring illnesses affect the risk that kidney disease patients face from extreme heat. It was published August 9 in JAMA Network Open.
Dr. Sapkota and Richard Remigio, a third-year doctoral student collaborated with investigators from the Renal Research Institute and Boston University School of Public Health — to investigate the links between climate change and human health.
The researchers analyzed 30 years of meteorological data to determine specific temperature thresholds for each location and calendar day. They used these thresholds to identify extreme heat events in Boston, New York City and Philadelphia from 2001–12. Finally, they cross-referenced the extreme heat days with patient records from local kidney disease clinics.
Rates of hospitalization and death during the hottest days were consistently higher for black and white patients, but findings were less clear for Hispanic and Asian patients. Those with co-occurring conditions such as congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes also face increased risk.
The variations shown in the current research with limited geographic coverage clearly indicate that social determinants do matter. Moving forward, the study team hopes to conduct a national level vulnerability assessment and further delve into underlying mechanisms.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on August 16