By: 13 January 2014

Preeclampsia during pregnancy may be associated with an increased risk of developing kidney failure, according to a new study.

Recent data suggest that preeclampsia is a risk factor for developing kidney failure later in life, but the magnitude of this link and the contributions of individuals’ other medical conditions remain unknown. To investigate the issue, researchers led by Andrea Kattah, MD, studied 8,362 residents of Olmsted County, MN, who gave birth between 1976 and 1982. Kidney failure cases were identified by linkage with the United States Renal Data System and matched to two controls each.

A total of 20 cases of kidney failure were identified and available for analysis. The average age at diagnosis of kidney failure was 52.6 years. Per chart review, 8/20 (40 percent) cases versus 5/40 controls (12.5 percent) had preeclampsia or eclampsia (which is characterised by convulsions). Diabetes and hypertension were more common in cases than controls (50 percent versus 15 percent, and 80 percent versus 45 percent, respectively).

“Preeclampsia is associated with a higher odds of end stage renal disease. However, after adjusting for diabetes and hypertension, the association was attenuated and no longer significant,” said the investigators. “Larger population-based studies that rely on chart review or prospective studies are needed to confirm the association of preeclampsia and end stage renal disease.”