Do you have a reduced kidney function? It may up risk of urinary and respiratory tract infections

Chronic kidney disease remains under-diagnosed and unrecognised in most societies.

A study has recently warned that individuals with poor kidney function had an increased risk of developing infections acquired in the community — lower respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections (UTI) and sepsis. The findings indicate that the people with kidney disease would benefit from an increased focus on preventing infections.

Lead author Juan Jesús Carrero from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden wondered that if kidney function might affect one’s susceptibility to such community-acquired infections. Researchers analysed 12-month information from 1,139,470 participants in the Stockholm CREAtinine Measurements (SCREAM) project, which collected measures of kidney function from individuals in Stockholm, Sweden.

The team found that the incidence rate of all infections increased with lower kidney function, from 74 per 1000 person-years of individuals with normal kidney function to 419 per 1000 person-years with stage four or higher chronic kidney disease (CKD). Also, the relative proportion of lower respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections and sepsis became increasingly higher as kidney function decreased.

“Given the fact that CKD remains under-diagnosed and unrecognised in most societies, our findings may help patients and clinicians become more aware of CKD and its complications,” Dr. Carrero stated. The study suggested that this in turn may be useful to identify patients at increased risk of infection and inform discussions about prevention strategies, such as vaccination, and health service planning.

The results appear in Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.