Elevated Phosphorus Levels Raise Risk of Kidney Failure

Every 1 mg/dL increase in serum phosphorus independently associated with 36% increased risk of kidney failure.
Every 1 mg/dL increase in serum phosphorus independently associated with 36% increased risk of kidney failure.

PHILADELPHIA—Higher serum phosphorus levels are associated with an increased risk of kidney failure and mortality, Chinese researchers reported at Kidney Week 2014.

“Recent studies indicated that phosphorus might have an independent pathogenic role in the progression of CKD, but some of those studies were underpowered and yielded inconsistent results,” Xinfang Xie, MD, of Peking University First Hospital in Beijing, and fellow researchers wrote in their study abstract.

In a meta-analysis, the researchers examined 12 cohort studies published from January 1950 to March 2013. They included 25,546 patients, of which 1,442 (8.8%) had developed kidney failure and 3,089 (13.6%) had died.

Every 1 mg/dL increase in serum phosphorus was independently associated with a 36% increased relative risk of kidney failure and 20% increased relative risk of mortality. Kidney failure risk was found to increase with blood levels of phosphorus, starting at 3.87 mg/dL.

The researchers concluded that their findings suggest that “large-scale, randomized controlled trials should target disordered phosphorus homeostasis in CKD.”


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