Objectives: In the past years, several risk charts have been created to increase the accuracy of cardiovascular risk stratification. The most widely used and validated algorithms do not included target organ damage as risk prediction. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether preclinical renal damage is associated with cardiovascular diseases independently of individual risk profile assessed by risk charts.
Methods: The study population was that of Italy-Developing Education and awareness on MicroAlbuminuria in patients with hypertensive Disease, a large observational study conducted on hypertensive patients in Italy. The Framingham Risk Score (FRS), Systematic COronary Risk Estimation (SCORE) and Progetto Cuore Risk Score (Progetto Cuore RS) were computed in each eligible patient. Chronic kidney disease was defined by the presence of albuminuria or by a reduction of glomerular filtration rate.
Results: Study participants were categorized to have low, medium and high risk according to the tertiles of the three charts. Prevalence of total cardiovascular diseases progressively and significantly increased according to the degrees of risk assessed by the three charts, the highest prevalence being in participants with a high-risk profile (both high and medium vs. low risk <0.01 for FRS, SCORE and Progetto Cuore RS). The presence of chronic kidney disease was associated with total cardiovascular diseases, independently of FRS (odds ratio 1.64, 95% confidence interval 1.33–2.02, P < 0.001), SCORE (odds ratio 1.55, 95% confidence interval 1.21–1.98, P < 0.001) and Progetto Cuore RS (odds ratio 1.59, 95% confidence interval 1.22–2.07, P < 0.001). Moreover, inclusion of renal damage in the logistic model significantly increased the accuracy of the FRS (P < 0.05), SCORE (P < 0.01) and Progetto Cuore RS (P < 0.01) to identify patients with overt cardiovascular diseases.
Conclusion: Identification of patients with preclinical renal damage should be encouraged in the hypertension cardiovascular risk stratification setting in order to achieve a more accurate individual risk computation. The presence of renal damage could improve cardiovascular risk prediction over the widely used risk stratification charts.