Albuminuria Linked to Higher CVD Risk in Diabetes

BARCELONA – Fewer than half the adults in Denmark with type 2 diabetes in 2015 had a recent assessment for albuminuria, and those who underwent testing and had albuminuria had a greater than 50% increased rate of incident heart failure, MI, stroke, or all- cause death during 4-year follow-up, in a study of more than 74,000 Danish residents.

Even those in this study with type 2 diabetes but without albuminuria had a 19% rate of these adverse outcomes, highlighting the “substantial” cardiovascular disease risk faced by people with type 2 diabetes even without a clear indication of nephropathy, Saaima Parveen, MD, a cardiology researcher at Herlev and Gentofte University Hospital in Copenhagen, said at the annual congress of the European Society of Cardiology.

This high rate of heart failure, MI, stroke, or death even in the absence of what is conventionally defined as albuminuria – a urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR) of at least 30 mg/g – suggests that this threshold for albuminuria may be too high, commented Luis M. Ruilope, MD, professor of public health and preventive medicine at Autonoma University, Madrid, who was not involved with the Danish study.

The study reported by Dr. Parveen “is very important because it shows that the risk of events is high not only in people with diabetes with albuminuria, but also in those without albuminuria,” Dr. Ruilope said in an interview.

The profile of albuminuria as a risk marker for people with type 2 diabetes spiked following the 2021 US approval of finerenone (Kerendia) as an agent specifically targeted to adults with type 2 diabetes and albuminuria. (Finerenone gained marketing approval by in Europe in February 2022 under the same brand name.)

A Lower Threshold for Albuminuria?

“Even patients with a UACR of 10-29 mg/g have risk and should be considered for finerenone treatment, said Dr. Ruilope. “People with type 2 diabetes with a UACR of 10-29 mg/g could explain” the high background risk shown by Dr. Parveen in her reported data: “In people with type 2 diabetes and a UACR of 10-29 mg/g we also see progression of kidney disease, but it’s slower” than in those who meet the current, standard threshold for albuminuria.

Dr. Ruilope was a coinvestigator for both of the finerenone pivotal trials, FIDELIO-DKD and FIGARO-DKD. Although the design of both these studies specified enrollment of people with type 2 diabetes and a UACR of at least 30 mg/g, a few hundred of the total combined enrollment of more than 13,000 patients had UACR values ​​below this level, and analysis of this subgroup could provide some important insights into the value of finerenone for people with “high normal” albuminuria, he said.

The study led by Dr. Parveen used data routinely collected in Danish national records and focused on all Danish adults diagnosed with type 2 diabetes as of Jan. 1, 2015, who also had information in their records for a UACR and an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) within the preceding year.

The records showed that only 47% of these people had a UACR value during this time frame, and that 57% had a recent measure of their eGFR, despite prevailing recommendations for routine and regular measurements of these parameters for all people with type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Parveen hypothesized that UACR measurement may lag for several reasons, such as reliance by primary care physicians on urine dipstick assessments, which preclude calculation of a UACR, poor adherence to regular medical assessment by people in low socioeconomic groups, and medical examination done outside of morning time periods, which is the best time of day for assessing UACR.

More Albuminuria Measurement Needed in Primary Care

“Measurement of albuminuria in people with type 2 diabetes is improving in Europe, but is not yet at the level that’s needed,” commented Dr. Ruilope. “We are pushing to have it done more often in primary care practices,” he said.

Among the 74,014 people with type 2 diabetes who had the measurement records that allowed for their inclusion in the study, 40% had albuminuria and 60% did not.

During 4 years of follow-up, the incidence of heart failure, MI, stroke, or all-cause death was 28.6% in those with albuminuria and 18.7% among those without albuminuria, reported Dr. Parveen.

The rates for each event type in those with albuminuria were 7.0% for heart failure, 4.4% for MI, 7.6% for stroke, and 16.6% for all-cause death (each patient could tally more than one type of event). Among those without albuminuria, the rates were 4.0%, 3.2%, 5.5%, and 9.3%, respectively.

The study received no commercial funding. Dr. Parveen and Dr. Ruilope had no disclosures.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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