Most heart failure patients who develop kidney failure in the hospital do not recover from it before going home and are at increased risk of either being re-hospitalized or dying within the year, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study.
The study's gloomy finding is the first time researchers linked long-term health outcomes with declining kidney function in patients hospitalized for heart failure.
The study is being presented at the American Heart Association's annual scientific conference Nov. 14-18 in Orlando.
"Even temporary kidney trouble in the hospital showed a trend toward poor one-year outcomes but persistent kidney dysfunction was definitely worse with long-term implications," says David Lanfear, M.D., a heart failure physician at Henry Ford and lead author of the study.
"We need to better understand why kidney dysfunction persists in some patients and what can be done to avert it."
Heart failure is a chronic condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood through the heart to meet the body's needs for blood and oxygen. The heart sometimes responds by enlarging and pumping faster.
Heart failure is a common cause of kidney failure, which occurs when the kidneys aren't receiving enough oxygen and blood to function properly.
The study followed 2,537 heart failure patients who were discharged from Henry Ford Hospital between Jan. 1, 2000 and June 30, 2008. Among patients whose kidney function worsened in the hospital, 61 percent did not recover from it before discharge and their risk of further health problems increased. Meanwhile, in 39 percent of patients their kidney dysfunction was short-lived and was not a significant predictor of increased mortality or re-hospitalization.
The study was funded by Merck.
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