Investigators Present Hundreds of Studies to Annual Gathering of Kidney Health Professionals at NKF 2019 Spring Clinical Meetings

New York, NY - May 9, 2019 Investigators from around the country presented hundreds of studies about kidney health and chronic kidney disease during the National Kidney Foundation’s 2019 Spring Clinical Meetings in Boston, May 8-12.
The event is a chance for investigators to share their findings with more than 3,000 kidney healthcare professionals who attend the annual conference. Many of the presentations talk of ground-breaking research to improve the lives of kidney patients, eliminate preventable chronic kidney disease (CKD) and eliminate the kidney transplant waitlist. The work is often a springboard to further research or advancements in treatment.
Some of the highlights of this year’s poster presentations include:
A new study of the medical data of tens of thousands of diabetic patients has found many have undiagnosed chronic kidney disease (CKD), including the most critical late stages.
The study Prevalence and Factors Associated with Undiagnosed Chronic Kidney Disease in Diabetes Mellitus” was presented to the professional community during the National Kidney Foundation’s 2019 Spring Clinical Meetings in Boston this week.
The authors processed and examined thousands of medical records and lab results of patients with diabetes and found that, overall, 49 percent of patients had undiagnosed CKD. Of that set, 57 percent had stage 3a CKD, 30 percent had stage 3b, 11 percent had stage 4 and 4 percent had stage 5, the most progressed form of the disease and most critical.
The authors hope the study, which was presented at the annual meetings, will motivate primary care physicians (PCP) to order testing and inspire patients to ask for the information and, ultimately, make positive changes in their lifestyle that can slow the progression of the disease.
“The kidney is unforgiving if being exposed to chronic inflammation or injury such as hypertension or diabetes,” said co-author George Bakris, MD, of the University of Chicago Medicine. “If you have insulted it, it’s not coming back. Once you have lost it, you’ve lost it and PCPs need to alert patients at an earlier stage.”
The study points to the need for the “Kidney Profile” lab work (a blood and urine test that detects CKD) annually for patients with diabetes, Dr. Bakris said. It is also important to control blood pressure, blood glucose and lipid levels to slow the progression of kidney disease, he said.
In addition to Dr. Bakris, the authors include: Dr. Joseph Coresh of Johns Hopkins University; Dr. Joseph Vassalotti of the NKF and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Dr. Matthew Weir of the University of Maryland; D. Pilon of Analysis Group, Inc.; J. Blais and M. Durkin of Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC.
Another study presented at the Spring Clinical Meetings suggests that socioeconomic factors play a significant role in the increased risk of pregnancy-related acute kidney injury among minority women. The study titled “Racial Disparities in Pregnancy-Related Acute Kidney Injury” was a “poster presentation” at the annual meeting of nephrology professionals by investigators from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, NY.
“The U.S. has one of the highest rates of maternal morbidity and mortality in the developed world. Non-Hispanic black women in the United States are at three to four times higher risk of pregnancy related mortality than white women, for reasons that are poorly understood and undoubtedly complex,” said co-author Dr. Lili Chan of Mount Sinai, New York, NY. “To date, racial trends in pregnancy-related acute kidney injury have not been studied; although we hypothesized that minority women would have higher incidence of pregnancy-related acute kidney injury and higher risk of adverse outcomes.”
According to the authors, from 2005 to 2015, pregnancy related acute kidney injury has risen 300 percent.
The Mount Sinai Hospital team who authored the study are Dr. Kelly Beers, Dr. Mihir Dave, Dr. Girish Nadkarni, Dr. Steven Coca and Dr. Lili Chan.
A third study presented during the “Poster Presentations” at NKF’s Spring Clinical Meetings analyzed 10 years’ worth of data and hundreds of variables about deceased donor kidneys and the recipients who received them and it has found that with artificial intelligence (AI)—specifically, training machines to learn from past experience—predictive outcomes are more accurate and will continue to improve over time. Kidneys can then be allocated more efficiently, and with less waste than ever before, according to the author.
The study is titled “Predicting Deceased Donor Kidney Transplant Outcomes: Comparing KDRI/KDPI with Machine Learning.” About 21,000 kidney transplants are performed each year and the majority of the kidneys donated are from deceased donors. Thousands retrieved each year are never transplanted for a variety of reasons. Kidneys retrieved from deceased donors are currently allocated using the Kidney Donor Risk Index (KDRI) and administered by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
“There is insurmountable evidence that we are not taking full advantage of these discarded kidneys,” said lead author and PhD candidate at The University of Iowa Eric Pahl, of OmniLife, Inc. “We are throwing away a lot of kidneys. We need to be better stewards of the gift we have in deceased donor organs.”
Further studies are planned, including a clinical trial that is scheduled to begin in August using the machine learning method, Pahl said. It is one of NKF’s goals to reduce the number of discarded kidneys after retrieval from deceased donors and has supported initiatives that move the bar closer to eliminating the kidney transplant waitlist. 
In Boston, thousands of professionals in nephrology gathered to share the latest information, treatment and studies of CKD and do so every year.
NKF Spring Clinical Meetings
For the past 27 years, nephrology healthcare professionals from across the country have come to NKF’s Spring Clinical Meetings to learn about the newest developments related to all aspects of nephrology practice; network with colleagues; and present their research findings. The NKF Spring Clinical Meetings are designed for meaningful change in the multidisciplinary healthcare teams’ skills, performance, and patient health outcomes. It is the only conference of its kind that focuses on translating science into practice for the entire healthcare team.  This year’s Spring Clinical Meetings will be held May 8-12 in Boston, MA.
NKF Professional Membership
Healthcare professionals can join NKF to receive access to tools and resources for both patients and professionals, discounts on professional education, and access to a network of thousands of individuals who treat patients with kidney disease. 
Kidney Disease Facts
In the United States, 30 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and most aren’t aware of it.  1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and family history.  People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease.  African Americans are 3 times more likely than Whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop end stage renal disease (kidney failure).
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit