Core Curriculum in Nephrology
Installments of the Core Curriculum in Nephrology provide trainees in nephrology with a strong knowledge base in core topics in the specialty by providing an overview of the topic and citing key references, including the foundational literature that led to current clinical approaches.
- Poisoning is a common problem in the United States. Acid-base disturbances, electrolyte derangements, or acute kidney injury result from severe poisoning from toxic alcohols, salicylates, metformin, and acetaminophen. Lithium is highly sensitive to small changes in kidney function. These poisonings and drug overdoses often require the nephrologist’s expertise in diagnosis and treatment, which may require correction of acidosis, administration of selective enzyme inhibitors, or timely hemodialysis.
- Assessment of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is fundamental to clinical practice, public health, and research. The kidney has several critical functions; GFR is used as an overall assessment of these kidney functions. GFR is used to diagnose, stage, and manage chronic kidney disease (CKD); ascertain the prognosis for chronic kidney disease–related events and mortality; and determine drug dosages. GFR is the rate at which the glomerulus filters plasma to produce an ultrafiltrate and can be assessed from clearance or serum levels of filtration markers.
- Automated urine technology and centralized laboratory testing are becoming the standard for providing urinalysis data to clinicians, including nephrologists. This trend has had the unintended consequence of making examination of urine sediment by nephrologists a relatively rare event. In addition, the nephrology community appears to have lost interest in and forgotten the utility of provider-performed urine microscopy. However, it is critical to remember that urine sediment examination remains a time-honored test that provides a wealth of information about the patient's underlying kidney disease.
- As the incidence of chronic kidney disease increases and women pursue pregnancy at more advanced ages, the management of kidney disease in pregnancy has become increasingly relevant to the practicing nephrologist. Women with kidney disorders face several challenges in pregnancy due to increased physiologic demands on the kidney and risk for disease progression, the potential teratogenicity of medications, and the increased risk for complications such as preeclampsia and preterm delivery. Challenges posed by an underlying disease process in pregnancy, such as autoimmune disease or diabetes mellitus, necessitate an interdisciplinary team to ensure good maternal and fetal outcomes.