Proteinuria and Cardiovascular Disease and Graft Failure

Time-Varying Proteinuria and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Graft Failure in Kidney Transplant Recipients
Tanya Kuper, MD, Olusegun Famure, MPH, MEd, Jamie Greenfield, MPH,
First Published November 27, 2021 Research Article Find in PubMed
Article information
SAGE ChoiceOpen AccessCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 License


Introduction: Proteinuria is recognized as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease in kidney transplant recipients, but previous studies have not considered the impact of changes in urine protein over time.

Research Question and Design: We used time-dependent, multivariable Cox proportional hazards models in this observational cohort study of adult kidney transplant recipients to evaluate whether proteinuria measured by dipstick on random spot urine samples starting from 1-month post-transplant was associated with the risk of major adverse cardiac events and graft loss.

Results: A total of 144 major adverse cardiac events, defined as acute myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular accident, revascularization, or all-cause mortality, were observed in 1106 patients over 5728.7 person-years.

Any level of proteinuria greater or equal to trace resulted in a two-fold increase in the risk of major adverse cardiac events (hazard ratio 2.00 [95% confidence interval 1.41, 2.84]). This relationship was not found to be dose-dependent (hazard ratios of 2.98, 1.76, 1.63, and 1.54 for trace, 1+, 2+, and 3+ urine protein, respectively).

There was an increased risk of graft failure with greater urine protein concentration (hazard ratios 2.22, 2.85, 6.41, and 19.71 for trace, 1+, 2+, and 3+, respectively).

Conclusion: Urine protein is associated with major adverse cardiac events and graft loss in kidney transplant recipients. The role of interventions to reduce proteinuria on decreasing the risk of adverse cardiovascular and graft outcomes in kidney transplant recipients requires further study.