Cardiac attacks a leading cause of death for kidney failure patients

According to a new report by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, sudden cardiac death is the leading cause of death for kidney failure patients. Of 1,041 ESRD patients on dialysis, 658 deaths occurred in a nine-and-a-half year span, 146 of which were due to sudden cardiac attacks. Malnutrition and inflammation were found to be major factors in cardiac deaths, with patients that had low albumin levels 1.35 times more likely to die than their high-level counterparts. Low albumin levels generally are associated with malnutrition. Cardiac death rates also rose in patients with high levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). Patients with both high levels of hsCRP and IL-6, and low levels of albumin were found to be four times more likely to suffer from cardiac death than those patients with reversed findings (low levels of hsCRP/IL-6 and high albumin levels).

Dr. Rulan S. Parekh, the study's author, said that this is the first time anyone has examined in-depth, the link between patients on dialysis and cardiac death. "When people think of heart attacks, they think of cholesterol and obesity, but these are risk factors for hardening of the arteries and are not directly linked to sudden heart death among patients on dialysis," she said.

For more:
- read this article in the Washington Post (from HealthNews Day)