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Health Agencies Update
June 22/29, 2005

New Kidney Function Test

JAMA. 2005;293(24):2992. doi:10.1001/jama.293.24.2992-d

Findings from a study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute indicate that serum cystatin C is a stronger predictor of the risk of death and cardiovascular events in the elderly than creatinine, the current standard measure of kidney function (Stevens and Levey. N Engl J Med. 2005;352:2122-2124).

For almost a decade, the researchers measured creatinine and cystatin C in blood samples from 4637 elderly patients and compared them as predictors of death from all causes, death from cardiovascular causes, and incidence of myocardial infarction and stroke. Cystatin C could distinguish individuals at low, medium, and high risk with respect to death from all causes and from cardiovascular causes; high levels were also associated with the risk for newly diagnosed myocardial infarction or stroke. Only participants in the highest 7% of the cohort with respect to creatinine levels had a significantly increased risk of death from all causes, and there was no association with the risk of death from cardiovascular causes, myocardial infarction, or stroke.

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