Is “Runner’s Kidney” a Thing?

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Q) Many of my patients are athletes. I recall reading something about kidney disease in marathon runners. Am I remembering correctly?

Although data on acute kidney injury (AKI) in marathon runners are limited, two recent studies have added to our knowledge. In 2017, Mansour et al studied 22 marathon runners, collecting urine and blood samples 24 hours before, immediately after, and 24 hours after a race. The results showed that in 82% of the subjects, serum creatinine increased to a level correlated with stage 1 or 2 AKI (as defined by the Acute Kidney Injury Network criteria).1

Based on urine microscopy results, as well as serum creatinine and novel biomarker levels, the researchers concluded that the runners’ AKI was caused by acute tubular injury—likely induced by ischemia. However, the subjects did not show any evidence of chronic kidney disease (CKD), despite years of running and intensive training. One theory: Habitual running might condition the kidneys to transient ischemic conditions—in other words, they build tolerance to repetitive injury over time.1

Continue to: The other recent study

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