Burden and management of chronic kidney disease in Japan: systematic review of the literature.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a common disorder with increasing prevalence worldwide. This systematic literature review aims to provide insights specific to Japan regarding the burden and treatment of CKD. We reviewed English and Japanese language publications from the last 10 years, reporting economic, clinical, humanistic, and epidemiologic outcomes, as well as treatment patterns and guidelines on CKD in Japan. This review identified 85 relevant articles. The prevalence of CKD was found to have increased in Japan, attributable to multiple factors, including better survival on dialysis therapy and a growing elderly population. Risk factors for disease progression differed depending on CKD stage, with proteinuria, smoking, hypertension, and low levels of high-density lipoprotein commonly associated with progression in patients with stage 1 and 2 disease. Serum albumin levels and hemoglobin were the most sensitive variables to progression in patients with stage 3 and 5 disease, respectively. Economic data were limited. Increased costs were associated with disease progression, and with peritoneal dialysis as compared with either hemodialysis or combination therapy (hemodialysis + peritoneal dialysis) treatment options. Pharmacological treatments were found potentially to improve quality of life and result in cost savings. We found no reports of treatment patterns in patients with early-stage CKD; however, calcium channel blockers were the most commonly prescribed antihypertensive agents in hemodialysis patients. Treatment guidelines focused on anemia management related to dialysis and recommendations for peritoneal dialysis treatment and preventative measures. Few studies focused on humanistic burden in Japanese patients; Japanese patients reported greater disease burden but better physical functioning compared with US and European patients. A dearth of evidence regarding the earlier stages of kidney disease presents an incomplete picture of CKD disease burden in Japan. Further research is needed to gain additional insight into CKD in Japan.