Childhood kidney ailment may lead to end-stage disease in adulthood

The discovery identifies a new risk group for chronic renal failure, one of the most common diseases in the world.

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February 25, 2018 19:38
1 minute read.
Childhood kidney ailment may lead to end-stage disease in adulthood

CHILDREN PARTICIPATE in technology-related activities during Scientists’ Night at the University of Haifa in 2016. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Young adults who suffered from mild kidney disease in childhood – without any symptoms – were four times more likely to suffer irreversible kidney failure before their 40th birthday than those who had no such medical history.

This discovery, by doctors at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem and Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, is considered by the researchers to be a breakthrough because it identifies a new risk group for chronic renal failure, one of the most common diseases in the world.

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In an article published recently in The New England Journal of Medicine, an Israeli research group led by Prof. Ronit Calderon- Margalit of Hadassah and Dr. Asaf Vivante of Sheba found that during adolescence, the risk of terminal kidney failure may suddenly develop and appear when they become young adults.

The long-term study included 1.5 million Israeli adolescents over a period of 30 years (1967 to 1997) whose health was examined when they were recruited by the Israel Defense Forces. All participants in the study had normal renal function upon arrival at the recruitment bureaus.

Over the three decades, 2,490 patients were found to have developed terminal kidney disease. Those kidney conditions during childhood included malformations they were born with and urinary tract infections or diseases involving tiny structures known as nephrons that filter out toxic substances from the urine.

Even if in early adulthood their kidney function was normal, having had kidney disease as children, even without symptoms, can result in a high risk of end-stage renal disease.

Their findings, said the researchers, will allow the identification of groups at risk in the early stages of disease development so doctors can begin early follow-up and treatment to slow down progression and significantly improve the patients’ quality of life and survival.

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