Blocked Blood Flow in Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease and ESRD patients may face heightened pulmonary embolism risk

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) If your kidneys are damaged, you may start to have health problems in other parts of your body. As rates of kidney disease rise, researchers want to know what these health problems may be.

In a recent study, researchers found that people with kidney disease had a higher risk of pulmonary embolism - a condition that blocks blood flow to the lungs.

This study suggests the risk of dangerous blood clots is higher among those with kidney disease.

"Visit your doctor regularly."

Rahul Nanchal, MD, of the Medical College of Wisconsin, and colleagues set out to see if chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease (complete or near-complete kidney failure) boosted the risk of pulmonary embolism.

Pulmonary embolism is the blockage of arteries in the lungs. Usually, pulmonary embolism occurs when blood clots from other parts of the body - typically, the legs - travel to the lungs.

Dr. Nanchal and colleagues found that patients with chronic kidney disease were more likely than those with normal kidney function to have pulmonary embolism.

Patients with end-stage renal disease were even more likely than those with chronic kidney disease to have a pulmonary embolism.

In addition, patients with kidney disease were more likely to die in the hospital, compared to those with normal kidney function.

Chronic kidney disease is the slow loss of kidney function. Over time, chronic kidney disease can progress to end-stage renal disease. Patients with end-stage renal disease need dialysis or a transplant to replace the normal function of their kidneys.

Study results showed the rate of pulmonary embolism among people with normal kidney function was 66 cases per 100,000 people per year.

In comparison, the rate of pulmonary embolism among people with chronic kidney disease was 204 cases per 100,000 people.

The rate of pulmonary embolism among people with end-stage renal disease was 527 cases per 100,000 people.

These findings show that, although higher for patients with some kind of kidney disease, the overall rate of pulmonary embolism remains low.

For their study, the researchers used data from the annual US Census and US Renal Data System to calculate the number of Americans with chronic kidney disease, end-stage renal disease and normal kidney function. The data was also used to calculate the annual rates of pulmonary embolism in each of these groups.

The study was published October 5 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 30, 2012
Last Updated:
November 5, 2012