Looking at Link Between Kidney Failure and Heart Disease

National study to examine possible connections

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FRIDAY, June 13, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- A landmark study examining the risk factors for rapid loss of kidney function and the link between kidney and heart diseases is being conducted by a number of centers across the United States.

The goal of the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) study is to identify ways to prevent or improve the treatment of both problems. It's the first large, prospective epidemiological study in the United States to look at the health of people with chronic kidney disease.

Researchers will try to determine why kidney disease gets worse faster in some people and why some are more prone to heart disease. Over two years, 3,000 volunteers will be recruited for the study, which is funded by the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

The CRIC study is recruiting people with varying degrees of kidney function, half of whom will have kidney disease due to diabetes.

Study volunteers will continue to receive regular health care from their own doctors. At the same time, CRIC researchers will monitor the health of each patient for up to six years. They'll perform standard blood, urine and other tests to measure kidney, heart and blood vessel health.

About one-third of the study volunteers will be given a glomerular filtration test, which measures kidney function more accurately than standard tests. Some patients will also have electron beam tomography. It's a fairly new test that measures calcium in the heart's arteries and may identify heart disease earlier than standard ECG and EKG tests.

The centers involved in the CRIC study are in Ann Arbor, Mich., Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, New Orleans, Oakland, Calif., San Francisco and Philadelphia.

Here's where you can get more information about the CRIC study.

In 2000, more than 458,000 people in the United States were treated for kidney failure. Another 10 million to 20 million people have earlier stages of kidney disease. All are at higher-than-average risk for heart attack, stroke and other health complications.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about your kidneys.

SOURCE: U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, news release, June 2003

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