Background: Determination of risks for chronic kidney disease (CKD) progression could improve strategies to reduce progression to ESKD. The eGFR Study recruited a cohort of adult Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (Indigenous Australians) from Northern Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia, aiming to address the heavy CKD burden experienced within these communities.
Methods: Using data from the eGFR study, we explored the association of baseline liver function tests (LFTs) (alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), bilirubin and albumin) and full blood count (FBC) indices (white blood cell and red blood cell counts and haemoglobin) with annual eGFR decline and renal outcomes (first of 30% decline in eGFR with a follow-up eGFR < 60 mL/min/1.73 m2, initiation of renal replacement therapy, or renal death). Comparisons of baseline variables across eGFR categories were calculated using analysis of variance and logistic regression as appropriate. Linear and multivariable regression models were used to estimate the annual change in eGFR for changes in FBC indices and LFTs. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate the hazard ratio for developing renal outcome for changes in baseline FBC indices and LFTs.
Results: Of 547 participants, 540 had at least one baseline measure of LFTs and FBC indices. The mean age was 46.1 (14.7) years and 63.6% were female. The median follow-up was 3.1 (IQR 2.8–3.6) years. Annual decline in eGFR was associated with low serum albumin (p < 0.001) and haemoglobin (p = 0.007). After adjustment for age, gender, urine albumin/creatinine ratio, diabetes, BMI, CRP, WHR, alcohol consumption, cholesterol and triglycerides, low serum albumin (p < 0.001), haemoglobin (p = 0.012) and bilirubin (p = 0.011) were associated with annual decline in eGFR.
Renal outcomes were inversely associated with serum albumin (p < 0.001), bilirubin (p = 0.012) and haemoglobin (p < 0.001) and directly with GGT (p = 0.007) and ALP (p < 0.001). Other FBC indices and LFTs were not associated with annual decline in eGFR or renal outcomes.
Conclusions: GGT, ALP, bilirubin, albumin and haemoglobin independently associate with renal outcomes. Contrary to findings from other studies, no association was found between renal outcomes and other FBC indices. These findings may help focus strategies to prevent disease progression in this high-risk population.