Diabetic Nephropathy More Common Than Previously Thought

Researchers in the Netherlands report results from an autopsy study.
Researchers in the Netherlands report results from an autopsy study.

PHILADELPHIA—Patients with diabetes have a much higher incidence of diabetic nephropathy (DN) than currently assumed, researchers reported at the 2014 Kidney Week meeting.

Céline Klessens, MSc, and colleagues at Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, The Netherlands, based their findings on an autopsy study of patients with either type 1 or 2 diabetes.

Examination of kidney tissue specimens indicated that 74 individuals (49.3%) had DN. Of these, 18 (12%) had class IIa, 10 (6.7%) had class IIB, 41 (27.3%) had class III, and 5 (3.3%) had class IV. The researchers found no correlation with proteinuria and DN class.

For the study, tissue specimens had to be non-autolytic and at least 100 glomeruli had to be available for evaluation.

The investigators noted that the reported incidence of DN in diabetic patients varies considerably and that in renal biopsies often are not performed in clinical practice to confirm a suspected case of DN.


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