Renal Insufficiency

Gadolinium-Associated Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis - Article

ABSTRACT: Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis is a progressive, potentially fatal multiorgan system fibrosing disease related to exposure of patients with renal failure to the gadolinium-based contrast agents used in magnetic resonance imaging. Because of this relationship between nephrogenic systemic fibrosis and gadolinium-based contrast agents, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently warns against using gadolinium-based contrast agents in patients with a glomerular filtration rate less than 30 mL per minute per 1.73 m2, or any acute renal insufficiency related to the hepatorenal syndrome or perioperative liver transplantation. There have been reports of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis developing in patients not exposed to gadolinium-based contrast agents, but most patients have the triad of gadolinium exposure through contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging, renal failure, and a proinflammatory state, such as recent surgery, endovascular injury, or sepsis. Development of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis among patients with severe renal insufficiency following exposure to gadolinium-based contrast agents is approximately 4 percent, and mortality can approach 31 percent. The mechanism for nephrogenic systemic fibrosis is unclear, and current treatments are disappointing. Prevention with hemodialysis immediately following gadolinium-based contrast agents has been recommended, but no studies have shown this to be effective. Because of the large number of patients with clinically silent renal impairment and the serious consequences of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis related to gadolinium exposure, physicians should use alternative imaging modalities for patients who are at risk.

Anemia in Older Persons - Article

ABSTRACT: Anemia in older persons is commonly overlooked despite mounting evidence that low hemoglobin levels are a significant marker of physiologic decline. Using the World Health Organization definition of anemia (hemoglobin level less than 13 g per dL [130 g per L] in men and less than 12 g per dL [120 g per L] in women), more than 10 percent of persons older than 65 years are anemic. The prevalence increases with age, approaching 50 percent in chronically ill patients living in nursing homes. There is increasing evidence that even mild anemia is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Anemia warrants evaluation in all older persons, except those at the end of life or who decline interventions. About one third of persons have anemia secondary to a nutritional deficiency, one third have anemia caused by chronic inflammation or chronic kidney disease, and one third have unexplained anemia. Nutritional anemia is effectively treated with vitamin or iron replacement. Iron deficiency anemia often is caused by gastrointestinal bleeding and requires further investigation in most patients. Anemia of chronic inflammation or chronic kidney disease may respond to treatment of the underlying disease and selective use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents. The treatment of unexplained anemia is difficult, and there is little evidence that treatment decreases morbidity and mortality, or improves quality of life. Occasionally, anemia may be caused by less common but potentially treatable conditions, such as autoimmune hemolytic anemia, malignancy, or myelodysplastic syndrome.

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