Spotting Kidney Disease Helps Heart Patients

Experts urge blood, urine tests for those with cardiovascular trouble

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MONDAY, Aug. 7, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Adults who have, or are at risk for, cardiovascular disease (CVD) should have blood and urine tests to check for chronic kidney disease, a new science advisory released Monday by the American Heart Association says.

"Screening for kidney disease is important for patients with CVD because kidney disease is a serious major risk factor for CVD. The simple, easy-to-do tests are great resources for doctors of CVD patients and can be done along with other tests," Dr. Frank C. Brosius III, chair of the statement writing group, said in a prepared statement.

The advisory encourages the use of the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) equation to estimate kidney function in CVD patients. The MDRD uses age and gender and other patient information to predict the presence of kidney disease. It also uses laboratory reports of blood levels of creatinine, a byproduct of muscle deterioration and an internal indicator of kidney filtration.

The MDRD formula can be applied to a single blood sample to accurately detect chronic kidney disease in patients with heart disease, said Brosius, professor of internal medicine and physiology and division chief of nephrology at the University of Michigan Hospital Medical System.

The advisory also recommended that urine samples be screened for high levels of the protein albumin. This condition, called albuminuria, is another sign of kidney damage and is also associated with increased risk for CVD.

"Doctors should look for patients' kidney function using both the MDRD equation and albuminuria tests. If one or both tests indicate kidney disease, then patients are at high risk for progressive CVD," Brosius said.

This screening should be done in CVD patients and in people with CVD risk factors such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about cardiovascular disease.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Aug, 7, 2006

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