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Mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists and reno-protection: What's the evidence & where do they fit? A guide for non-specialists.

The role of aldosterone has yet to be well appreciated in chronic kidney disease (CKD). Two variables define CKD: an estimated glomerular filtration rate of <60 ml/min/1.73 m2 and a spot urine albumin-creatinine ratio of >30 mg/g. Both are needed for an accurate diagnosis. The presence of CKD at this level is associated with an elevated risk of cardiovascular death and a greater risk of CKD progression to kidney failure and subsequent dialysis. This paper presents an overview of aldosterone's importance in CKD and its contribution to the inflammatory processes involved in CKD development. Data on outcomes, both surrogate and hard, related to outcomes on CKD progression will also be discussed in the context of mineralocorticoid blockade. Based on recent epidemiological data as well as data examining markers of diabetic kidney disease progression, it is clear that use of both renin-angiotensin system inhibitors and aldosterone receptor antagonists have a significant role in altering the natural history of kidney disease progression itself, as well as reducing the risk of cardiovascular events that generally accompany long-standing kidney disease. This paper will discuss these issues and the management of consequent hyperkalaemia when both steroidal and non-steroidal mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists are used in detail.

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