Presentation and outcome of chronic kidney disease in Italian and immigrant citizens: results from the Emilia-Romagna PIRP project
In recent decades, high income countries (HIC) have been exposed to huge human migratory flows. Consistent with this influx, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients in the immigrant population. In Italy, comparisons between Italian and immigrant CKD patients are still lacking, thus we aimed to describe the baseline clinical characteristics and the main outcomes of CKD patients who immigrated to Italy and reside in the Emilia Romagna region.
This is a retrospective cohort study based on CKD patients from the Prevenzione Insufficienza Renale Progressiva (PIRP) project, which included 963 (3.1%) immigrants among the 30,702 patients seen by nephrologists between April 1st, 2004 and June 30th, 2020. We sub-divided the immigrants into seven groups based on their area of origin, and compared their baseline characteristics, CKD progression and time to end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) to those of Italian CKD patients.
At presentation, Italian subjects were on average older (73.1 years) and had less preserved kidney function (eGFR 34.3 ml/min), while South and East Asians had the highest proportion of diabetes and obesity (approximately 45% and 30%, respectively). At 4-year follow-up, about 20% of patients from South Asia, Eastern Europe and Arab Countries were diagnosed with ESKD, compared to only 11% of Italians and Latin Americans.
We found important differences between Italian and immigrant CKD patients, as well as among immigrant subgroups. First clinical encounters with nephrologists revealed that immigrants had varied patterns of clinical presentation and of nephropathy. During follow-up, immigrants showed faster kidney function decline which led to a higher risk of disease evolution and progression towards ESKD.