Heart Test Deemed OK Before Kidney Transplant

THURSDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) -- A test to determine whether a person's heart is healthy enough for a kidney transplant is safer than previously thought, according to a British study.

Chronic kidney disease can contribute to the development of heart disease, which means that doctors need to closely monitor the heart health of chronic kidney patients. But many doctors are reluctant to use coronary angiography -- which uses dyes and X-rays to provide an image of the inside of the heart's arteries -- on people with chronic kidney disease because of fears that the procedure raises the risk for complications.

But the study found that coronary angiography does not cause a decline in kidney function in people with advanced chronic disease and can help doctors decide when to schedule someone for a kidney transplant, said Dr. Nicky Kumar, of the Imperial College Kidney and Transplant Institute in London, and colleagues.

They looked at 76 people with late-stage chronic kidney disease who were potential transplant recipients. Kidney function tests were recorded a year before and a year after they had coronary angiography. Kidney function was similar before and after the procedure, indicating that it didn't harm the kidneys.

Coronary angiography detected coronary artery disease in 23 people, which meant they couldn't have a kidney transplant until their heart problems were treated. The heart testing showed that 22 of them were healthy enough to have a kidney transplant instead of going on dialysis.

The researchers said this kind of heart health information is essential for optimal care because having a kidney transplant before someone needs dialysis is the most effective treatment for chronic kidney disease.

The study was published online Oct. 15 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about chronic kidney disease.

SOURCE: American Society of Nephrology, news release, Oct. 15, 2009

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