No Value For Renal-Artery Stenting In CORAL Reply

Previous small studies have failed to find any benefit associated with renal-artery stenting, but the trials have been small and were not powered for clinical outcomes. Now, the CORAL (Cardiovascular Outcomes in Renal Atherosclerotic Lesions) trial, presented at the American Heart Association meeting and published simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine, offers strong and persuasive evidence that renal-artery stenting is not beneficial.

A total of 947 patients with renal-artery stenosis and either systolic hypertension, despite taking two or more antihypertensive agents, or chronic kidney disease were randomized to medical therapy plus stenting or medical therapy alone. There were no significant differences after 43 months in the primary composite endpoint of cardiovascular and renal events (death from cardiovascular or renal causes, MI, stroke, hospitalization for congestive heart failure, progressive renal insufficiency, or the need for renal-replacement therapy):

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Yet Another Blow To Combination Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System Blockade 1

ACE inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor blockers have been found to effectively slow progression of kidney disease. It has been theorized that dual blockade of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) might prove even more beneficial, but these hopes have not been realized. Now a new trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine throws further cold water on the once-promising hypothesis.

In the Veterans Affairs Nephropathy in Diabetes (VA NEPHRON-D) trial, Linda Fried and colleagues randomized type 2 diabetics with proteinuric kidney disease already receiving the angiotensin-receptor blocker losartan to either the ACE inhibitor lisinopril or placebo. The trial was stopped early by the data and safety monitoring committee due to safety concerns and the low likelihood that the trial would be able to yield a significant difference in the primary end point.

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No Support For Broad Screening Of Chronic Kidney Disease 1

Although taught in  medical school and widely used in clinical practice, broad screening of otherwise healthy people for chronic kidney disease (CKD) is unwarranted, according to new recommendations from the American College of Physicians published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. People with early kidney disease, who are classified as having stages 1 to 3 CKD, usually do not have symptoms and are generally diagnosed with labarotory tests or imaging. People who progress to advanced kidney disease are at greatly increased risk for dialysis, end-stage renal disease, and death.

The authors of “Screening, Monitoring, and Treatment of Stage 1-3 Chronic Kidney Disease” discuss the paucity of evidence in the field and highlight the absence of randomized, controlled trials evaluating the risks and benefits of screening for CKD or evaluating the sensitivity and specificity of screening tests.

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High Potency Statins Linked To Increased Risk For Acute Kidney Injury Reply

Although the beneficial effects of high-potency statins have been well-characterized in clinical trials, these same trials have lacked the power to illuminate rare but potentially important adverse events. A suggestion of one such area of concern, acute kidney injury, was first raised in the JUPITER trial. Now, a new study published in BMJ provides further information about this area.

Researchers in the Canadian Network for Observational Drug Effect Studies (CNODES) performed a retrospective observational analysis of administrative databases in Canada, the UK and the US containing more than 2 million patients newly treated with statins.  59,636 of the subjects already had chronic kidney disease. One-third of the subjects received high potency statins, defined as ≥10 mg rosuvastatin, ≥20 mg atorvastatin, and ≥40 mg simvastatin.

Within 120 days of starting treatment there were 4691 hospitalizations for acute kidney injury in patients without pre-existing kidney disease and 1896 hospitalizations in patients with pre-existing disease. Patients without pre-existing disease on high potency statins were 34% more likely to be hospitalized with acute kidney injury than patients on other statin regimens. Patients with pre-existing disease did not have a significant increase in risk if they were taking high potency statins.

The authors estimated that 1,700 patients without pre-existing kidney disease would need to be treated with a high potency statin instead of a low potency statin to cause one additional acute kidney injury requiring hospitalization. The findings, according to the authors, are broadly consistent with the JUPITER trial. They write:

Given what is likely to be a small magnitude of incremental cardiovascular benefit of high potency statins over low potency statins in reality, a pressing question is how to identify patients for whom the risk-benefit balance for high potency statin treatment is unfavourable.

In an accompanying editorial, Robert Fassett and Jeff Coombes write that “clinicians should use low potency statins whenever possible to provide cardiovascular benefits without the increased risk of acute kidney injury.” Further, they note, “despite extensive experience with the use of statins over many years, optimization of doses to derive benefit but minimize risk is still evolving.”

Acute Kidney Injury Associated With Dual Antihypertensive Therapy And NSAIDs Reply

Adding a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to dual antihypertensive therapy (a diuretic plus either an ACE inhibitor or an angiotensin receptor blocker) is associated with an increase in risk for kidney injury, according to a large new retrospective study published in BMJ.

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ALTITUDE Autopsy Shows What Went Wrong With Aliskiren Reply

In its short lifespan the direct renin inhibitor aliskiren (a.k.a., Rasilez or Tekturna) rapidly declined from being a highly promising, first-of-its kind drug to a major failure. The death blow was struck last December with the early termination of the ALTITUDE trial, after the data and safety monitoring committee found an increased risk in patients taking aliskiren. Now the final results of the Aliskiren Trial in Type 2 Diabetes Using Cardiorenal Endpoints have been presented at Kidney Week 2012 in San Diego and simultaneously published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

8,561 type 2 diabetics at high risk for cardiovascular and renal complications already receiving an ACE inhibitor or an angiotensin-receptor blocker were randomized to receive aliskiren or placebo. The primary outcome of a cardiorenal event (CV death, resuscitated death, MI, stroke, unplanned hospitalization for heart failure, onset of end-stage renal disease or doubling of baseline creatinine) occurred more often in the aliskiren group, although this difference did not achieve statistical significance:

  • 18.3% for aliskiren versus 17.1% for placebo (hazard ratio, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.98-1.20; P=0.12).

A similar trend was observed for just cardiovascular outcomes:

  • 13.8% versus 12.6%, respectively (hazard ratio, 1.11; 95% CI, 0.99-1.25; P=0.09)

Compared with placebo, patients on aliskiren had lower blood pressure and a greater reduction in the urinary albumin-to-cretinine ratio. But there was also a significantly higher risk of hyperkalemia (39.1% versus 29.9%; P<0.001) and hypotension (12.1% versus 6.3%, p<0.001).

The authors concluded that the addition of aliskiren to standard therapy in high risk type 2 diabetics “is not supported by these data and may even be harmful.” The result of ALTITUDE, they write, “underscores the need to go beyond surrogate biomarkers and obtain risk-benefit data from clinical end-point trials to better inform clinical decisions.”