The global toll of chronic kidney disease attributable to air pollution is significant, according to an analysis presented at ASN Kidney Week 2017 in New Orleans.

Benjamin Bowe, MPH, from the Clinical Epidemiology Center at the VA Saint Louis Health Care System and his colleagues previously described an association between increased levels of fine particulate matter and risk of developing CKD. In their latest research, the investigators used the Global Burden of Disease study methodologies to estimate the burden of CKD attributable to air pollution.

The estimated global burden of incident CKD attributable to fine particulate matter was more than 10.7 million cases per year. Epidemiologic measures of the burden of CKD attributable to air pollution including years living with disability (meaning years living with kidney disease), years of life lost (meaning early death attributable to kidney disease), and disability-adjusted life years (a measure that combines the burden of living with the disease and the early death caused by the disease) suggest that the burden varies greatly by geography, with higher values seen in Central America and South Asia.

“Air pollution might at least partially explain the rise in incidence of CKD of unknown origin in many geographies around the world, and the rise in Mesoamerican nephropathy in Mexico and Central America,” said Bowe.