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.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus is a multisystem autoimmune disease that commonly affects the kidneys. Lupus nephritis (LN) is the most common cause of kidney injury in systemic lupus erythematosus and a major risk factor for morbidity and mortality. The pathophysiology of LN is heterogeneous. Genetic and environmental factors likely contribute to this heterogeneity. Despite improved understanding of the pathogenesis of LN, treatment advances have been few and risk for kidney failure remains unacceptably high.
- Transplantation is the preferred modality of replacement therapy for most patients with kidney failure. In the United States, more than 3,000 new patients are registered each month on the kidney transplant waiting list for this life-saving therapy. A potential kidney transplant recipient’s evaluation typically begins with a referral by the general nephrologist to a transplantation center. In this installment in the Core Curriculum in Nephrology, we endeavor to achieve a shared understanding of the patient factors that contribute to optimal patient and allograft outcomes following kidney transplantation.
- Diabetic kidney disease and diabetic nephropathy are the leading cause of end-stage kidney disease in the United States and most developed countries. Diabetes accounts for 30% to 50% of the incident cases of end-stage kidney disease in the United States. Although this represents a significant public health concern, it is important to note that only 30% to 40% of patients with diabetes develop diabetic nephropathy. Specific treatment of patients with diabetic nephropathy can be divided into 4 major arenas: cardiovascular risk reduction, glycemic control, blood pressure control, and inhibition of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS).
- Nearly 100,000 patients are waiting for a kidney transplant, yet each year only 11,000 undergo transplantation with a deceased donor kidney. Annual death rates among waitlist registrants range from 5% to 15%; many die before receiving a transplant. Not surprisingly, registrants turn to family and friends to become living kidney donors on their behalf. Living kidney donor selection practices aim to quantify lifetime risk for kidney failure based on a candidate’s predonation demographic and health characteristics.