New Study May Improve Heart Health in Children with Kidney Disease

December 22, 2023

Young adults with chronic kidney disease experience heart failure at a rate several hundred times higher than their healthy peers. A new study will employ advanced diagnostics and therapeutics to improve heart health.

This new clinical research study, led by Alexander J. Kula, MD, will begin enrolling youth ages 12-25 in 2024. The study will be supported by a K23 grant from the NIH/NIDDK.

Working together with Pei-Ni Jone, MD, Director of the Echocardiography Laboratory and Jarett Linder, MD, at Lurie Children’s Heart Center, the goal is to identify the earliest signs of compromised cardiac health in children and adolescents with chronic kidney disease. Lurie Children’s is one of the few pediatric centers with the infrastructure and expertise to perform the exercise stress-echocardiography utilized by Dr. Kula’s study. Through advanced clinical testing, the hope is to identify changes in heart function that occur at the earliest, and most-reversible stage of disease. Concurrently, Dr. Kula will be leading a small clinical trial of a medication that has shown great promise preventing, and even reversing, cardiac damage in adult patients with kidney disease.

“Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in persons with kidney disease of all ages and my mission is to help young people with kidney disease live long and meaningful lives by primarily focusing on their heart health,” said Dr. Kula. The collaboration between these two research-driven teams coming together in an environment that supports innovative approaches to develop cutting-edge diagnostics and therapeutics is truly the foundation for this grant, added Dr. Kula.