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High level of particular protein may predict kidney disease

Presence of the protein is already used as an indicator of heart damage.

By Stephen Feller
High level of particular protein may predict kidney disease
Abnormal levels of the protein cardiac troponin T -- already known to indicate heart damage -- may be used to predict end-stage renal disease. Photo by Steve Collender/Shutterstock

ROCHESTER, Minn., Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Levels of a protein in the blood used to look for heart damage may be a useful early indicator of kidney disease, according to new research.

About a third of adults in the United States have hypertension, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hypertension and high blood pressure are considered a major risk factor for kidney disease.

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While screening for kidney disease is not a regular practice for all people, a biomarker indicating the potential for developing the condition means people could be diagnosed and treated earlier.

"Early intervention and treatment can be key to stopping kidney disease progression and, potentially, preventable death events," said Dr. LaTonya Hickson, a Nephrology and Hypertension physician at Mayo Clinic, in a press release. "This study demonstrates for physicians everywhere that we are getting closer to accurately predicting future disease and death by examining this one marker. This is important, because, as with many diseases, accurate, early detection means we can more quickly recognize and efficiently treat the disease before it fully manifests -- potentially improving a patient's quality and quantity of life."

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Researchers followed 3,050 people from 1996 to 2010, measuring the rate of cardiac troponin T, or cTnT, in their blood as an indicator for end-stage renal failure.

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An average of 10 years after their first exam, participants with a higher concentration of cTnT had a higher incidence of death, 47 percent, while those with normal cTnT levels were at 7.3 percent. About 27 percent of participants with a higher level of cTnT had end-stage kidney failure, compared to 1.3 percent of people with normal levels.

Further research is needed to confirm the accuracy of using cTnT levels as a standard measure for end-stage renal disease, as well as whether all patients with hypertension should be screened, researchers wrote in the study, which is published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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