Newswise — Osaka, Japan –It is often said that preventing a problem is much better than having to deal with it later, and when it comes to healthcare, this holds true. Recently, a significant breakthrough has been made by an international research team, led by Osaka University, regarding preventive treatment for a serious heart condition.

In their recent publication in the European Journal of Heart Failure, the research team discussed their findings on long-term patterns of kidney health indicators in healthy European adults. They revealed how these patterns can play a crucial role in determining the risk of new-onset heart failure. Understanding these patterns could lead to more effective preventive measures, potentially saving many patients from developing a severe heart condition in the future. The study highlights the importance of targeted treatments, ensuring that the right preventive measures are administered to the right patients, ultimately increasing the success of prevention strategies.

Approximately one in five individuals will experience heart failure during their lifetime, and among the various risk factors, impaired kidney function is recognized as one of the most significant contributors to this condition. Consequently, it is a standard procedure to closely monitor indicators of kidney health in patients who are at risk of developing heart failure.

According to Dr. Ryoto Sakaniwa, the lead author of the study, it is widely acknowledged that renal biomarkers can exhibit day-to-day or short-term fluctuations. However, until now, the correlation between long-term patterns in these biomarker levels and the risk of heart failure has remained a mystery.

In order to address this knowledge gap, the researchers conducted a comprehensive study involving nearly 7000 participants from the Dutch study called "Prevention of Renal and Vascular End-stage Diseases" (PREVEND). They focused on two commonly used markers of kidney health: urinary albumin excretion (UAE) and serum creatinine. Over an 11-year period, the researchers meticulously monitored and analyzed the patterns of UAE and serum creatinine levels in relation to the occurrence of new-onset heart failure and mortality.

The findings of the study, as described by Dr. Jasper Tromp, the senior author, were quite conclusive. While the majority of participants exhibited stable and low levels of UAE or serum creatinine, those with persistently high UAE showed a statistically significant increase in the risk of developing new-onset heart failure or facing all-cause mortality. Interestingly, despite the lengthy follow-up period of 11 years, the annual levels of renal biomarkers remained remarkably consistent from year to year.

The study revealed that having stable serum creatinine levels over time was associated with heart failure but did not indicate a higher risk of death. Upon conducting a more detailed analysis, the researchers found that patients with consistently higher levels of UAE or serum creatinine tended to be older and male. Additionally, they were more likely to have conditions such as diabetes, previous heart attack, or dyslipidemia. These factors could potentially contribute to the increased risk of developing heart failure in these individuals.

According to Sakaniwa, the lead author of the study, their findings underscore the significance of the heart-kidney connection in heart failure. The research demonstrated that patients with consistently poorer renal function, evident through higher levels of UAE or serum creatinine, face a heightened risk of heart failure or mortality. By addressing and reducing these renal biomarkers, there is potential to mitigate the risk and potentially prevent heart failure in susceptible patients.

The study's findings propose that reducing UAE (urinary albumin excretion) could effectively decrease the risk of future heart failure and mortality in these patients. Considering that one in five individuals will experience heart failure in their lifetime, these results carry significant implications for preventive medicine. It is crucial to verify and validate these findings in non-European populations to ensure their broader applicability and potential impact on global healthcare strategies.

Journal Link: European Journal of Heart Failure