Early chronic kidney disease in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australian children: remoteness, socioeconomic disadvantage or race?

L Haysom, R Williams, E Hodson, L P Roy, D Lyle, J C Craig
Kidney International 2007, 71 (8): 787-94
Indigenous people suffer substantially more end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), especially Australian Aboriginals. Previous work suggests causal pathways beginning early in life. No studies have shown the prevalence of early markers of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous children or the association with environmental health determinants--geographic remoteness and socioeconomic disadvantage. Height, weight, blood pressure, and urinary abnormalities were measured in age- and gender-matched Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children from elementary schools across diverse areas of New South Wales, Australia. Hematuria was defined as>or=25 red blood cells/microl (>or=1+), proteinuria>or=0.30 g/l (>or=1+), and albuminuria (by albumin:creatinine)>or=3.4 mg/mmol. Remoteness and socioeconomic status were assigned using the Accessibility and Remoteness Index of Australia and Socio-Economic Indexes For Areas. From 2002 to 2004, 2266 children (55% Aboriginal, mean age 8.9 years) were enrolled from 37 elementary schools. Overall prevalence of hematuria was 5.5%, proteinuria 7.3%, and albuminuria 7.3%. Only baseline hematuria was more common in Aboriginal children (7.1 versus 3.6%; P=0.002). At 2-year follow-up, 1.2% of Aboriginal children had persistent hematuria that was no different from non-Aboriginal children (P=0.60). Socioeconomic disadvantage and geographical isolation were neither significant nor consistent risk factors for any marker of CKD. Aboriginal children have no increase in albuminuria, proteinuria, or persistent hematuria, which are more important markers for CKD. This suggests ESKD in Aboriginal people may be preventable during early adult life.

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