LDL cholesterol is a poor marker of heart health in patients with kidney disease

May 16, 2013

LDL cholesterol is not a useful marker of heart disease risk in patients with kidney disease, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). The finding suggests that other measurements should be used to assess kidney disease patients' cardiovascular health.

High LDL cholesterol is a strong marker of in the general population, but its use in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is unclear. To investigate, Marcello Tonelli, MD, FRCPC (University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada) and his colleagues studied 836,060 adults with CKD from the Alberta Kidney Disease Network between 2002 and 2009.

During an average follow-up of four years, 7762 patients were hospitalized for heart attacks, most of whom had the lowest levels of kidney function at the start of the study. Despite their higher overall risk of having a heart attack, the link between higher LDL cholesterol and was weaker for these patients than for patients with higher kidney function.

"This indicates that, although people with impaired are at high risk of cardiovascular events, LDL cholesterol is less useful as a marker of risk in this population," said Dr. Tonelli. "This in turn suggests that, unlike in the general population, criteria for cardioprotective treatments such as statins should not be based on in people with , and it argues instead for an approach that is based on absolute cardiovascular risk."

In an accompanying editorial, Julie Lin, MD (Genzyme Corporation and Brigham and Women's Hospital) noted that further study of and cardiovascular risk represents an important area of healthcare research. "The very large total at-risk population of CKD and end stage renal disease patients who will experience morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease is calling out for more research to lead directly to improved management and outcomes as soon as possible."

Explore further: Poor kidney response to hormone may increase risks for kidney disease patients

More information: The article, entitled "Association between LDL-C and Risk of Myocardial Infarction in CKD," will appear online at http://jasn.asnjournals.org/ on May 16, 2013, doi: 10.1681/ASN.2012080870.

The editorial, entitled "A Piece of the Puzzle in the Cardiorenal Conundrum," will appear online at http://jasn.asnjournals.org/ on May 16, 2013, doi: 10.1681/ASN.2013040420.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Zika virus infection alters human and viral RNA

October 20, 2016

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that Zika virus infection leads to modifications of both viral and human genetic material. These modifications—chemical tags known as ...

Food-poisoning bacteria may be behind Crohn's disease

October 19, 2016

People who retain a particular bacterium in their gut after a bout of food poisoning may be at an increased risk of developing Crohn's disease later in life, according to a new study led by researchers at McMaster University.

Neurodevelopmental model of Zika may provide rapid answers

October 19, 2016

A newly published study from researchers working in collaboration with the Regenerative Bioscience Center at the University of Georgia demonstrates fetal death and brain damage in early chick embryos similar to microcephaly—a ...

Scientists uncover new facets of Zika-related birth defects

October 17, 2016

In a study that could one day help eliminate the tragic birth defects caused by Zika virus, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have elucidated how the virus attacks the brains of newborns, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.