Recent data from registry-based studies suggest that preeclampsia—a condition in pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure, sometimes with fluid retention and protein excretion in the urine—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 (Mayo Clinic) studied 8362 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; each case was matched to two controls.
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%) cases vs 5/40 controls (12.5%) had preeclampsia or eclampsia (which is characterized by convulsions). Diabetes and hypertension were more common in cases than controls (50% vs 15%, 80% vs 45%, 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," according to 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."