Research Article: The epidemiology of chronic kidney disease and the association with non-communicable and communicable disorders in a population of sub-Saharan Africa

Date Published: October 31, 2018

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Nikolai C. Hodel, Ali Hamad, Claudia Praehauser, Grace Mwangoka, Irene Mndala Kasella, Klaus Reither, Salim Abdulla, Christoph F. R. Hatz, Michael Mayr, Giuseppe Remuzzi.


In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), epidemiological data for chronic kidney disease (CKD) are scarce. We conducted a prospective cross-sectional study including 952 patients in an outpatient clinic in Tanzania to explore CKD prevalence estimates and the association with cardiovascular and infectious disorders. According to KDIGO, we measured albumin-to-creatinine ratio and calculated eGFR using CKD-EPI formula. Factors associated with CKD were calculated by logistic regression. Venn diagrams were modelled to visualize interaction between associated factors and CKD. Overall, the estimated CKD prevalence was 13.6% (95% CI 11–16%). Ninety-eight patients (11.2%) (95% CI 9–14%) were categorized as moderate, 12 (1.4%) (95% CI 0–4%) as high, and 9 (1%) (95% CI 0–3%) as very high risk according to KDIGO. History of tuberculosis (OR 3.75, 95% CI 1.66–8.18; p = 0.001) and schistosomiasis (OR 2.49, 95% CI 1.13–5.18; p = 0.02) were associated with CKD. A trend was seen for increasing systolic blood pressure (OR 1.02 per 1 mmHg, 95% CI 1.00–1.03; p = 0.01). Increasing BMI (OR 0.92 per 1kg/m2, 95% CI 0.88–0.96; p = <0.001) and haemoglobin (OR 0.82 per 1g/dL, 95% CI 0.72–0.94; p = 0.004) were associated with risk reduction. Diabetes was associated with albuminuria (OR 2.81, 95% CI 1.26–6.00; p = 0.009). In 85% of all CKD cases at least one of the four most common factors (hypertension, diabetes, anaemia, and history of tuberculosis or schistosomiasis) was associated with CKD. A singular associated factor was found in 61%, two in 14%, and ≥3 in 10% of all CKD cases. We observed a high prevalence estimate for CKD and found that both classical cardiovascular and neglected infectious diseases might be associated with CKD in a semi-rural population of SSA. Our finding provides further evidence for the hypothesis that the “double burden” of non-communicable and endemic infectious diseases might affect kidney health in SSA.

Partial Text

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is increasingly recognized as a global public health problem with major impact on health, health-care costs and productivity [1, 2]. However, epidemiological data in developing countries are still scarce or of limited quality [3, 4]. There is a strong interaction between cardiovascular risk factors and CKD, whereby diabetes and hypertension confer the highest risk for developing CKD [1, 2]. Conservative projections for developing countries and regions including sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), expect a dramatic increase in diabetes, hypertension, and obesity for the coming decade [5–9], which raises fears of a sharp increase in CKD [2, 10, 11]. Additionally, in SSA the expected epidemic of cardiovascular diseases strikes populations, which already suffer from a high burden of communicable diseases [12–14].

Overall, 1006 patients were recruited (Fig 1). Twenty-one pregnant women and 5 patients aged less than 18 years, and 28 females with urinary samples contaminated by menstruation were excluded, leaving 952 patients for the final analysis. In 55 patients, symptoms and criteria of acute systemic infection/inflammation or possible UTI were seen. These patients were excluded from the calculation of CKD prevalence estimates, the logistic regression analyses, and the Venn diagram (Fig 1).

The main finding of our study was a high overall prevalence estimate (13.6%) for CKD. Interestingly, we found an association of both classical cardiovascular disorders and endemic infectious diseases with CKD. Reports from epidemiological studies pointed out, that the “double burden” could account for an increased CKD prevalence in populations from SSA [21, 22, 24]. People living in low- and middle-income countries such as Tanzania are especially vulnerable, because non-communicable diseases are on a steady rise. This trend is driven by epidemiologic transition, population aging, rapid urbanization processes and lifestyle changes in the region [3, 7, 12, 22, 43, 44]. In the same time in which the prevalence of cardiovascular disorders increases endemic infectious diseases such as TB, HIV/Aids, Malaria and Schistosomiasis remain still highly prevalent [3, 12, 45, 46]. Our findings provide further evidence for the hypothesis that the “double burden” of non-communicable and endemic infectious diseases might affect kidney health in SSA [21, 22, 47].




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