Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Review
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Importance of Metabolic Acidosis as a Health Risk in Chronic Kidney Disease.

Human kidneys are well adapted to excrete the daily acid load from diet and metabolism in order to maintain homeostasis. In approximately 30% of patients with more advanced stages of CKD, these homeostatic processes are no longer adequate, resulting in metabolic acidosis. Potential deleterious effects of chronic metabolic acidosis in CKD, including muscle wasting, bone demineralization, hyperkalemia, and more rapid progression of CKD, have been well cataloged. Based primarily upon concerns related to nutrition and bone disease, early Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative guidelines recommended treating metabolic acidosis with alkali therapy targeting a serum bicarbonate ≥22 mEq/L. More recent guidelines have suggested similar targets based upon potential slowing of CKD progression. However, appropriately powered, long-term, randomized controlled trials to study efficacy and safety of alkali therapy for these outcomes are largely lacking. As a result, practice among physicians varies, underscoring the complexity of treatment of chronic metabolic acidosis in real-world CKD practice. Novel treatment approaches and rigorous phase 3 trials may resolve some of this controversy in the coming years. Metabolic acidosis is an important complication of CKD, and where it "falls" in the priority schema of CKD care will depend upon the generation of strong clinical evidence.

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