Infections increase the risk of cardiovascular events (CVEs) in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), researchers reported at the 52nd congress of the European Renal Association-European Dialysis and Transplant Association in London.

In fact, the increased risk of CVEs associated with infections is similar in magnitude to having a previous CVE, according to investigators.

Hicham I. Cheikh Hassan, MD, of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and colleagues analyzed data from 2,294 CKD patients who had a median age of 70.4 years and a median follow-up of 2.86 years. A CVE occurred in 281 patients (12.1%), including ischemic events (7.2%), congestive heart failure (5.6%), and other events (1%). Infections occurred in 480 patients (20.9%). 

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Significantly more patients with than without infections experienced CVEs (28.5% vs. 19.9%). Overall, compared with patients who had no prior CVE and who did not experience an infection, patients who had an infection had a significant 2.9 times increased risk of CVEs. Patients who had a prior CVE and no infection had a significant 2.84 times increased risk of CVE; those who did not have a prior CVE but had an infection had a significant 2.6 times increased risk. Patients who had both a prior CVE and an infection had a significant 7.7 times increased risk. Multivariate analysis confirmed development of an infection as an independent risk factor for CVE.

Study subjects had an estimated glomerular filtration rate of 15–45 mL/min/1.73 m2 and were followed up every 6 months for 3 years and then annually for 2 more years. The researchers defined infections as the use of antibiotics.