Washington, DC (March 5, 2018) — In celebration of the World Kidney Day 2018’s theme of "Kidneys & Women’s Health: Include, Value, Empower," the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) is highlighting several articles in its journals, Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN) and Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), that are focused on women's kidney health. The articles will be open access through April 6th to ensure that all readers have the ability to read them. In addition, a special section in Kidney News, ASN’s newsmagazine, summarizes recent reports providing insights into disparities in chronic kidney disease (CKD) care for women in the United States and around the world. On March 6th, ASN will host a Twitter chat related to World Kidney Day, which is March 8th.    

In one CJASN analysis of 1931 pregnancies in Korea between 2001 and 2015, investigators identified a unique U-shaped relationship between midterm kidney function, as assessed by estimated glomerular filtration rate, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Another CJASN study from France provides new information on hemolytic uremic syndrome—a rare disease characterized by a triad of anemia caused by destruction of red blood cells, acute kidney failure, and a low platelet counts—during pregnancy and postpartum. In a third CJASN study of pregnant women, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia were more common in those with a history of kidney stones than in nonstone formers.

In JASN, one study examined outcomes of pregnancy in women who recovered from an incident of acute kidney injury. The authors found that pregnancy outcomes were generally favorable but that infants of women with a history of kidney damage were born earlier and small-for-gestational-age births were more common. Another JASN analysis revealed sex differences in hospitalizations among US patients undergoing maintenance hemodialysis in 2007-2011. The hospitalization rate was much higher among women than among men (2.08 vs. 1.68 hospitalizations per year). Age group–specific hospitalization rates were consistently higher for women than for men of the same race, and the differences were greatest in younger age groups. Women also had substantially higher risk for 30-day readmission, with the largest differences at younger ages. A third JASN study conducted in rodents revealed important differences between transport proteins in male and female kidneys. The difference in females might allow for fluid retention adaptations required of pregnancy and lactation.

Topics highlighted in Kidney News include sex, gender, and CKD care; differences in dialysis access type in men vs. women; and sex differences in acute kidney injury. One article notes that women are consistently under-represented in hemodialysis clinics, a finding that is not explained by a lower prevalence or incidence of CKD, nor by potential sex bias in kidney function. In addition, women tend to donate kidneys more often but are less likely to receive kidney transplants. Another article supports previous studies showing that women have lower rates of hemodialysis initiation using an arteriovenous fistula, the preferred hemodialysis vascular access. The differences are present in all age groups and across races, and after controlling for other important patient and clinical characteristics. Another article highlighted in Kidney News questions why females, both humans and rodents, exhibit a decreased susceptibility to acute kidney injury. Finding the answer may lead to novel and innovative diagnostics and treatments that can be applied to men and women.

“ASN is proud to raise awareness of World Kidney Day 2018, and in particular kidney disease in women,” said Mark Okusa, MD, FASN, ASN President. “Many kidney diseases are more common in women than in men, and CKD is the 8th leading cause of death in women, with 195 million women worldwide affected.” Dr. Okusa also noted that pregnancy-related complications can increase the risk of kidney disease progression—among women with CKD, those who also have preeclampsia have a 4- to 5-times increased risk of developing kidney failure.

The content of these articles does not reflect the views or opinions of The American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s). ASN does not offer medical advice. All content in ASN publications is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions, or adverse effects. This content should not be used during a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about a medical condition, or before taking any drug, changing your diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment. Do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of information accessed through ASN. Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies.

Since 1966, ASN has been leading the fight to prevent, treat, and cure kidney diseases throughout the world by educating health professionals and scientists, advancing research and innovation, communicating new knowledge, and advocating for the highest quality care for patients. ASN has nearly 18,000 members representing 112 countries. For more information, please visit www.asn-online.org or contact the society at 202-640-4660.

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