Update on the management of chronic kidney disease.
Chronic kidney disease is common and associated with significant morbidity. Given the high risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in patients with chronic kidney disease, it is important to identify and treat related risk factors. However, there is growing uncertainty about the benefits of some recommended treatment targets. The National Kidney Foundation's Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative guidelines recommend an A1C level of less than 7 percent in patients with diabetes mellitus, although there is no evidence that treatment to this goal reduces cardiovascular events or progression to end-stage renal disease. Optimal blood pressure goals are controversial, and further study is needed to determine these goals in relation to amount of proteinuria. Concurrent use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers leads to worsening kidney function and is not recommended. Lipid-lowering therapy has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events and mortality, but not progression of chronic kidney disease. The treatment of anemia in patients with chronic kidney disease, particularly the use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents and optimal hemoglobin goals, is also controversial. Studies have shown increased morbidity and mortality with use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents aimed at normalizing hemoglobin levels. Patients with chronic kidney disease are at high risk of morbidity and mortality from the use of intravenous contrast agents. Isotonic intravenous hydration with sodium bicarbonate or saline has been shown to prevent contrast-induced nephropathy. Gadolinium-based contrast agents should be avoided if the glomerular filtration rate is less than 30 mL per minute per 1.73 m2 because of the risk of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis.