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Better Kidney Function Test to Predict Death and Cardiovascular Outcomes

 
  May, 23 2005 3:29
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Cystatin-C, a new blood test for kidney function, is a better predictor of death and cardiovascular risk among the elderly than the standard measure of kidney function, according to a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)-funded study published in the May 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. This more sensitive test distinguishes those at low, medium and high cardiovascular risk, which may enable earlier detection.

Investigators for NHLBI's Cardiovascular Health Study compared the two measures of kidney function, cystatin-C and the standard test creatinine, as predictors of death from all causes, death from cardiovascular causes, and incidence of heart attack and stroke among 4,637 elderly participants in the study.

The 20 percent of the participants with the highest levels of cystatin-C had twice the risk of death from all causes as well as death from cardiovascular disease, and a 50 percent higher risk of heart attack and stroke compared with those who had the lowest levels of cystatin-C. In contrast, testing the same participants with creatinine detected a smaller high-risk group — about 10 percent of the participants — and all others appeared to be at average risk.

With cystatin-C investigators found that 60 percent had abnormal kidney function putting them at medium or high risk for cardiovascular complications.


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