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Impaired renal function and major cardiovascular events in young adults


Background — Cardiovascular (CV) disease in young adults (aged 18-39 years) is on the rise. Whether subclinical reductions in kidney function (ie, estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR] above the current threshold for chronic kidney disease but below age-expected values) are associated with elevated CV risk is unknown.

Objectives — The goal of this study was to examine age-specific associations of subclinical eGFR reductions in young adults with major adverse cardiovascular events (MACEs) and MACE plus heart failure (MACE+).

Methods — A retrospective cohort study of 8.7 million individuals (3.6 million aged 18-39 years) was constructed using linked provincial healthcare data sets from Ontario, Canada (January 2008-March 2021). Cox models were used to examine the association of categorized eGFR (50-120 mL/min/1.73 m2) with MACE (first of CV mortality, acute coronary syndrome, and ischemic stroke) and MACE+, stratified according to age (18-39, 40-49, and 50-65 years).

Results — In the study cohort (mean age 41.3 years; mean eGFR 104.2 mL/min/1.73 m2; median follow-up 9.2 years), a stepwise increase in the relative risk of MACE and MACE+ was observed as early as eGFR <80 mL/min/1.73 m2 in young adults (eg, for MACE, at eGFR 70-79 mL/min/1.73 m2, ages 18-30 years: 2.37 events per 1,000 person years [HR: 1.31; 95% CI: 1.27-1.40]; ages 40-49 years: 6.26 events per 1,000 person years [HR: 1.09; 95% CI: 1.06-1.12]; ages 50-65 years: 14.9 events per 1,000 person years [HR: 1.07; 95% CI: 1.05-1.08]). Results persisted for each MACE component and in additional analyses (stratifying according to past CV disease, accounting for albuminuria at index, and using repeated eGFR measures).

Conclusions — In young adults, eGFR below age-expected values were associated with an elevated risk for MACE and MACE+, warranting age-appropriate risk stratification, proactive monitoring, and timely intervention.



Hussain J, Imsirovic H, Canney M, Clark EG, Elliott MJ, Ravani P, Tanuseputro P, Akbari A, Hundemer GL, Ramsay T, Tangri N, Knoll GA, Sood MM. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2023; 82(13):1316-27. Epub 2023 Sep 18.

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