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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2011 Jan;26(1):62-74. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfq647. Epub 2010 Oct 26.

Biomarkers in kidney and heart disease.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Cardiology, San Diego VA Medical Center and University of California, San Diego, CA, USA.


There is much symptomatic similarity between acute kidney disease and acute heart disease. Both may present with shortness of breath and chest discomfort, and thus it is not surprising that biomarkers of acute myocardial and renal disease often coexist in many physicians' diagnostic work-up schedules. In this review we explore the similarities and differences between current and future tests of myocardial and renal injury and function, with particular emphasis on the diagnostic utility of currently available biomarkers to assist with the diagnosis of cardiorenal syndromes. Imaging studies have not traditionally been viewed as clinical biomarkers, but as tests of structure and function; they contribute to the diagnostic process, and we believe that they should be considered alongside more traditional biomarkers such as blood and urine measurements of circulating proteins and metabolites. We discuss the place of natriuretic peptides, novel tests of kidney damage as well as kidney function and conclude with a discussion of their place in guiding future research studies whose goals must include better characterization of the degree of dysfunction imposed on one organ system by failure of the other.

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