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Association between blunted glomerular hyperfiltration in pregnancy and severe maternal morbidity—a research letter

Harel Z, Park AL, Ray JG. Can J Kidney Health Dis. 2021; 8:20543581211035221. Epub 2021 Oct 26. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/20543581211035221


Background — Glomerular hyperfiltration is one physiological adaptation to pregnancy, marked by a decline in serum creatinine (SCr) concentration by 16 weeks’ gestation. It is not known whether blunted glomerular hyperfiltration leads to adverse maternal outcomes, including severe maternal morbidity (SMM).

Objective — To evaluate the association between blunted glomerular hyperfiltration and subsequent SMM or death.

Design — Population-based cohort study

Setting — Ontario, Canada, from 2008 to 2019.

Participants — Included were births among women who had ≥ 1 SCr measured as an outpatient within 10 weeks before conception (“preconception”), and again, at 110/7 to 206/7 weeks’ gestation (“in-pregnancy”). Excluded were women who died before birth, who had end-stage renal disease or kidney transplantation before conception, or whose pre-pregnancy SCr was 125 μmol/L.

Exposure — Net glomerular hyperfiltration defined as the preconception minus the in-pregnancy SCr.

Measures — The primary study outcome was SMM or death arising from 23 weeks’ gestation up to 42 days after the index birth.

Methods — Adjusted relative risks (aRRs) were calculated using Modified Poisson regression per 1-SD net blunting of glomerular hyperfiltration adjusting for important covariates.

Results — A total of 10,323 births met all inclusion criteria. The mean (SD) SCr was 61.7 (11.0) μmol/L preconception, 48.0 (9.2) μmol/L in-pregnancy, and the mean net difference 13.6 (8.2) μmol/L. Among these births, the adjusted RR of SMM or death from 23 weeks’ gestation up to 42 days post-partum was 1.16 (95% confidence interval 1.14-1.30) per 1-SD (8.2 μmol/L) net blunting of glomerular hyperfiltration.

Limitations — As SCr assessment is not a routine part of pregnancy care, its measurement could have been for a specific health condition thereby imparting selection bias.

Conclusions — Blunted glomerular hyperfiltration in pregnancy may identify some women at higher risk of SMM. Further prospective research is needed about the implications of glomerular hyperfiltration in early pregnancy.

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