Testing technique could lengthen lifespan of dialysis patients

A new testing method can better detect potentially fatal hormone imbalances in patients with end-stage kidney disease, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

At the end of 2009, more than 871,000 Americans were being treated for end-stage renal disease, according to the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). These patients require dialysis or kidney transplants to stay alive. About 10 to 20 percent of patients with stage 5, or end-stage renal disease, die each year.

One key factor that contributes to the risk of death in this population is levels of parathyroid hormone, the hormone that makes calcium available in the blood for important body functions. When parathyroid are too low or too high, it raises the mortality risk for patients with end-stage renal disease.

"The current tests for parathyroid hormone levels overlook a key factor," said the study's lead author, Berthod Hocher, MD, PhD, of the University of Potsdam in Potsdam-Rehbrücke, Germany. "When parathyroid hormone interacts with oxygen under conditions of stress such as end-stage , it becomes biologically inactive. Our new approach is the first to differentiate between non-oxidized, biologically active parathyroid hormone and oxidized parathyroid hormone. This will result in better monitoring and treatment for patients who have end-stage renal disease."

Researchers conducted a prospective cohort study to test this approach. The study authors monitored a group of 340 over the course of a five-year period. Researchers tested blood samples from the patients to determine their parathyroid hormone levels. During the course of the follow-up period, 170 participants died, many from cardiovascular disease, infections or cancer.

The patients who survived had higher median levels of non-oxidized parathyroid hormone than the study participants who died. The study found an increased rate of survival among dialysis who had the highest levels of non-oxidized parathyroid hormone.

"With more precise testing, health care professionals will have the information they need to improve clinical outcomes," Hocher said. "The nephrology community has long recognized there is an issue with current testing approaches, and now we can solve this problem and improve patient care."

More information: The article, "Non-Oxidized, Biologically Active Parathyroid Hormone Determines Mortality in Hemodialysis Patients," is scheduled to appear in the December 2013 issue of JCEM.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Vitamin D linked to reduced mortality rate in CKD

May 07, 2008

For patients with moderate to severe chronic kidney disease (CKD), treatment with activated vitamin D may reduce the risk of death by approximately one-fourth, suggests a study in the August Journal of the American Society of ...

Recommended for you

New hope for rare disease drug development

20 minutes ago

Using combinations of well-known approved drugs has for the first time been shown to be potentially safe in treating a rare disease, according to the results of a clinical trial published in the open access Orphanet Journal of ...

Three weeks since last Ebola case in Mali: WHO

3 hours ago

Mali has not had a case of Ebola for three weeks, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, completing one of the two incubation periods the country needs to be declared free of the virus.

Migraine may double risk for facial paralysis

3 hours ago

Migraine headache may double the risk of a nervous system condition that causes facial paralysis, called Bell's palsy, according to a new study published in the December 17, 2014, online issue of Neurology, the medical journa ...

Anti-diabetic drug springs new hope for tuberculosis patients

10 hours ago

A more effective treatment for tuberculosis (TB) could soon be available as scientists have discovered that Metformin (MET), a drug for treating diabetes, can also be used to boost the efficacy of TB medication without inducing ...

User comments

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.