Urine anion gap to predict urine ammonium and related outcomes in kidney disease

Kalani L. Raphael, Sarah Gilligan, Joachim H. Ix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background and objectives Low urine ammonium excretion is associated with ESRD in CKD. Few laboratories measure urine ammonium, limiting clinical application. We determined correlations between urine ammonium, the standard urine anion gap, and a modified urine anion gap that includes sulfate and phosphate and compared risks of ESRD or death between these ammonium estimates and directly measured ammonium. Design, setting, participants, & measurements We measured ammonium, sodium, potassium, chloride, phosphate, and sulfate from baseline 24-hour urine collections in 1044 African-American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension participants. We evaluated the cross-sectional correlations between urine ammonium, the standard urine anion gap (sodium + potassium 2 chloride), and a modified urine anion gap that includes urine phosphate and sulfate in the calculation. Multivariable-adjusted Cox models determined the associations of the standard urine anion gap and the modified urine anion gap with the composite end point of death or ESRD; these results were compared with results using urine ammonium as the predictor of interest. Results The standard urine anion gap had a weak and direct correlation with urine ammonium (r=0.18), whereas the modified urine anion gap had a modest inverse relationship with urine ammonium (r=20.58). Compared with the highest tertile of urine ammonium, those in the lowest urine ammonium tertile had higher risk of ESRD or death (hazard ratio, 1.46; 95% confidence interval, 1.13 to 1.87) after adjusting for demographics, GFR, proteinuria, and other confounders. In comparison, participants in the corresponding standard urine anion gap tertile did not have higher risk of ESRD or death (hazard ratio, 0.82; 95% confidence interval, 0.64 to 1.07), whereas the risk for those in the corresponding modified urine anion gap tertile (hazard ratio, 1.32; 95% confidence interval, 1.03 to 1.68) approximated that of directly measured urine ammonium. Conclusions Urine anion gap is a poor surrogate of urine ammonium in CKD unless phosphate and sulfate are included in the calculation. Because the modified urine anion gap merely estimates urine ammonium and requires five measurements, direct measurements of urine ammonium are preferable in CKD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-212
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 7 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation

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