Geriatric nephrology: an overview

Abstract

Introduction: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a highly prevalent condition and its prevalence is increasing worldwide, particularly in adults aged ≥ 70 years. Epidemiological studies showed that as many as 20–54% of the older adults suffer from CKD in stages 3-5. Nevertheless the question whether this lower eGFR is a consequence of kidney disease or if it is the result of a physiological aging is still debated, even if it implies a reduced renal reserve and vulnerability to drugs overdose with increased risk of acute kidney injury (AKI).

Materials and methods: PubMed search was conducted for available English literature, describing the actual knowledge about specific and frequent issues reported in the acute and chronic kidney disease in older adults. Prospective and retrospective studies, as well as meta-analyses and latest systematic reviews were included.

Results: Most of the studies examined and reviewed were discarded for wrong population or intervention or deemed unfit. Only 103 met the inclusion criteria for the review. The studies included in the review were grouped into two areas: chronic and acute kidney disease in older adults and we have analysed the peculiar and frequently found issues in this population.

Conclusions: The geriatric population is increasing worldwide. We should consider peculiar aspects of this population, such as sarcopenia, malnutrition, psychological and cognitive deficits and increased risk of AKI, in order to reach a good quality of life, with improved doctor / patient relationship, a greater adherence to therapy, a reduction in health care costs, and if possible, adequate “end of life”, as far as it is approved by the patient and his family. The achievement of these objectives requires an organized work in multidisciplinary teams that evaluate overall the geriatric patient.

Key words: sarcopenia, acute renal failure, chronic kidney disease, malnutrition, older adults, palliative therapy

Full text of the article is available in Italian.