Nonalbuminuric diabetic kidney disease (DKD) has become the prevailing phenotype in patients with type 2 diabetes. However, it remains unclear whether its prognosis is poorer than that of other DKD phenotypes.
A total of 2,953 Japanese patients with type 2 diabetes and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) ≥30 mL/min/1.73 m2, enrolled in an observational cohort study in 2004, were followed until 2015. On the basis of albuminuria (>30 mg/g creatinine) and reduced eGFR (<60 mL/min/1.73 m2) at baseline, participants were classified into the four DKD phenotypes—no-DKD, albuminuric DKD without reduced eGFR, nonalbuminuric DKD with reduced eGFR, and albuminuric DKD with reduced eGFR—to assess the risks of mortality, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and renal function decline.
During the mean follow-up of 9.7 years, 113 patients died and 263 developed CVD. In nonalbuminuric DKD, the risks of death or CVD were not higher than those in no-DKD (adjusted hazard ratio 1.02 [95% CI 0.66, 1.60]) and the annual decline in eGFR was slower than in other DKD phenotypes. The risks of death or CVD in nonalbuminuric DKD without prior CVD were similar to those in no-DKD without prior CVD, whereas the risks in nonalbuminuric DKD with prior CVD as well as other DKD phenotypes were higher.
Nonalbuminuric DKD did not have a higher risk of mortality, CVD events, or renal function decline than the other DKD phenotypes. In nonalbuminuric DKD, the presence of macrovascular complications may be a main determinant of prognosis rather than the renal phenotype.