Cardiovascular disease and the kidney: An epidemiologic overview

Alberto Zanchetti, Andrea Stella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Essential hypertension and congestive heart failure (CHF) are examples of cardiovascular disorders that may cause renal failure, although sometimes a primary kidney defect may lead to hypertension. Renal damage in malignant and severe hypertension is dramatic, extensive, and rapidly progressive, although nephrosclerotic damage? which develops slowly and appears late in hypertension, is a rare cause of morbidity because mild to moderate hypertension is now the most common form. However, the incidence of end- stage renal failure associated with hypertension is markedly increasing, perhaps because of underdiagnosis of renal damage in hypertension, insufficient lowering of blood pressure in clinical practice, or inability of antihypertensive drugs to lower blood pressure sufficiently to preserve the kidney, a goal that may need specific drugs that act, for example, on the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). Renal vasoconstriction and reduction of renal blood flow are early companions of cardiac insufficiency and may be involved in the development of sodium and water retention. Profound reduction of cardiac output and arterial hypotension in severe CHF may lead to acute renal failure. Chronic renal insufficiency is associated with elevated cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Renal impairment is often caused by a disease process, such as diabetes mellitus, that involves both the cardiovascular system and the kidney. When the primary disease is renal, possible reasons for an association include renal-dependent increase in blood pressure, activation of the RAS, overproduction of other vasoactive substances of renal origin, and electrolyte imbalances leading to fatal arrhythmias.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Diabetes
  • End-stage renal disease
  • Essential hypertension
  • Heart failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Cardiovascular disease and the kidney: An epidemiologic overview'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this