More Hormone, More Risk

Chronic kidney disease patients have higher risk of deadly complications as FGF23 levels increase

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) People with chronic kidney disease are at risk of deadly heart problems. If their kidneys stop functioning entirely, they have to go on dialysis. How can doctors spot kidney patients at risk of these complications?

Kidney disease patients with higher levels of a certain hormone may have a higher risk of death, heart-related events, and dialysis (a process of filtering blood to rid the body of harmful waste).

"Know your risk of complications from kidney disease."

These findings were made by Jessica Kendrick, M.D., of the University of Colorado Denver, and her colleagues.

The researchers already knew that levels of a hormone called fibroblast growth factor-23 (FGF-23) are raised in patients with chronic kidney disease. They wanted to see if elevated levels of FGF-23 in the blood was linked to a higher risk of all-cause mortality (death), heart-related events, or dialysis.

They found that patients with the highest levels of FGF-23 were more likely to suffer a heart-related event or start dialysis, compared to those with the lowest levels of the hormone.

Dr. Kendrick and colleagues also found that the risk of death became progressively higher as levels of FGF-23 increased.

In order to come to these findings, the researchers measured FGF-23 levels in the blood plasma samples of 1,099 patients with advanced chronic kidney disease. Over the course of the study, 453 patients died from any cause, 215 suffered a heart-related event, and 615 started dialysis treatment.

The results of this study are published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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Review Date: 
October 5, 2011
Last Updated:
October 5, 2011