Lower Renal Function Boosts Risk of Infection-Related Hospitalizations

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As renal function declines, the risk of infection-related hospitalizations increases, new findings suggest.

The findings are from a study of 5,142 elderly individuals who participated in the Cardiovascular Health Study for whom serum cystatin C levels were used to estimate glomerular filtration rate (GFR). After a median follow-up of 11.5 years, subjects with an estimated GFR (eGFR) of 60-89, 45-59, and 15-44 mL/min/1.73 m2 had a 16%, 37%, and 64% greater risk of all-cause infection-related hospitalization compared with subjects who had an eGFR of 90 or above, according to a report in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases (2012;59:356-363). With respect to cause-specific infection, an eGFR of 15-44 was associated with an 80% increased risk of pulmonary infection and a 160% increased risk of genitourinary infection compared with an eGFR of 90 or above, a research team led by Lorien S. Dalrymple, MD, MPH, of the University of California at Davis, found.

“These findings highlight that even moderate degrees of decreased kidney function are associated with clinically significant higher risks of serious infection in older individuals,” the researchers concluded.

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