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Bridget M. Kuehn

The merger between pharmacy giant CVS and health insurer Aetna is among the latest shake-ups in the healthcare industry that are likely to have ripple effects on nephrologists and patients with kidney diseases. The merger was finalized on November 28, 2018.

For nephrologist Bruce Culleton, MD, vice president of CVS Health, the CVS-Aetna merger offers the prospect of a new care delivery model that better meets patients’ needs.

“We believe this type of consolidation encourages the development of business models that are more patient-centric and more holistic than the current paradigm, which is focused on in-center dialysis care,” Culleton said.

Bridget M. Kuehn

Obesity should not disqualify patients from kidney transplants, suggested one study presented at Kidney Week 2018, while two other studies provided conflicting information on whether pretransplant weight loss may be beneficial.

The prevalence of obesity in both adult and child prospective kidney transplant recipients has increased, mirroring a trend in the general population.

Observational studies have found that higher body mass index (BMI) is associated with an increased risk of delayed graft function, noted Krista Lentine, MD, professor of internal medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, and colleagues, “but [higher BMI] is often not associated with

Understanding seasonal patterns of disease has important implications for clinical care. Yet for many years, little has been known about seasonal variations in acute kidney injury (AKI).

A new study shows that AKI does indeed show a seasonal pattern, with incidence and severity both being higher in the winter months.

Using a Japanese community hospital database, the researchers conducting the Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation study identified 81,279 hospitalized patients with AKI. Patients were identified according to Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes serum creatinine criteria. The patients represented 14.6% of all patients admitted over the 3-year study period, from 2012

Early Programs

ASN offers 10 Early Programs on Tuesday, October 23, and Wednesday, October 24, preceding the Annual Meeting (October 25–28).

Here are the new or biennial Early Programs:

➤ Advances in Research Conference: -Omics, Organoids, and Organs-on-Chips: Innovation Through Collaboration

This year’s conference presents critical recent advances in the biology of organoids and organs-on-chips as they relate to the human kidneys. The conference will include descriptions of how these in vitro systems can incorporate pharmacogenetics, gene expression profiles, multiple “-omics” technologies, and biomarker discovery and translation, all for enhanced molecular understanding of the human kidneys in health and disease.

GOAL 1 Lead the kidney community by focusing on education, communications, policy, and collaboration Announcing the Hidden Epidemic of Kidney Diseases Worldwide

More than 850 million people worldwide have some form of kidney disease—roughly double the number of people who live with diabetes and 20 times more than the prevalence of cancer. The global burden of kidney diseases was determined through concerted effort by the American Society of Nephrology (ASN), the European Renal Association–European Dialysis and Transplant Association (ERA-EDTA), and the International Society of Nephrology (ISN).

In addition to using high-impact data to communicate the kidney disease pandemic and raise

Tracy Hampton

Certain highly pervasive environmental pollutants may have a variety of negative effects on kidney health, according to an analysis of all relevant studies published on this topic to date.

In the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology analysis, researchers assessed studies on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are a large group of manufactured non-biodegradable compounds used to provide stain and grease repelling properties to consumer products including textiles, papers, and food packaging. PFASs are also used in aqueous fire-fighting foams. Recently, they have been detected on military bases, as well as in public water supplies

While most healthcare costs for living kidney donors are incurred during the perioperative period, there are also significant costs related to evaluation and follow-up care, reports a study in Transplantation.

The retrospective analysis included 1099 living kidney donors who donated at one Ontario transplant center between 2004 and 2014. All aspects of predonation and postdonation care were covered under Canada’s universal health insurance program. Costs related to the donors’ care were analyzed in three periods: predonation evaluation; perioperative care, including the nephrectomy and 30-day postoperative period; and follow-up to 1 year after donation. Incremental costs, compared to healthy

ASN Kidney News has received an award honoring outstanding graphic communication for a healthcare publication.

Graphic Design USA’s (GDUSA) 2018 Health + Wellness Design Awards honor the best of graphic design in the healthcare industry, including traditional medicine and healthcare, healthy lifestyles and nutrition, public health and community education, and the aging of society. Among the most selective of graphic design competitions, GDUSA noted that only 150 of the 1600 entries in the 2018 competition made the cut for a Health + Wellness Design Award.

“The 2018 winners showcase features 150 projects encompassing the big picture of health and

For patients with chronic kidney disease, self-reported measures of physical functioning and physical activity are independently associated with survival, reports a study in Clinical Kidney Journal.

Such self-reported measures of functioning and physical activity may be reasonable surrogates for objective assessments, the study authors noted.

The cohort study included 450 adult patients with CKD not requiring renal replacement therapy (RRT), enrolled in a study of physical therapy in CKD. Fifty-seven percent of the patients were men. The median age was 62 years, and the median eGFR was 29 mL/min/1.73 m2.

At enrollment, patients completed questionnaires regarding physical

Antihypertensive medications, including renin angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitors, have a small but significant survival benefit for hemodialysis patients, according to a study in Kidney International.

The researchers analyzed data from the International Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study (DOPPS) phases 2 to 5 (2002–2015). The study included data on 11,421 patients with incident hemodialysis, over 120 days or less; and 11,421 with prevalent hemodialysis, over 120 days. The exposure of interest was baseline treatment with RAAS inhibitors: angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, angiotensin-receptor blocker (ARB), aldosterone receptor antagonist, or direct renin inhibitor. The effects of treatment with RAAS inhibitors or