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Journal: Clinical kidney journal


Conventional ultrasound in combination with colour Doppler imaging is still the standard diagnostic procedure for patients after renal transplantation. However, while conventional ultrasound in combination with Doppler imaging can diagnose renal artery stenosis and vein thrombosis, it is not possible to display subtle microvascular tissue perfusion, which is crucial for the evaluation of acute and chronic allograft dysfunctions. In contrast, real-time contrast-enhanced sonography (CES) uses gas-filled microbubbles not only to visualize but also to quantify renal blood flow and perfusion even in the small renal arterioles and capillaries. It is an easy to perform and non-invasive imaging technique that augments diagnostic capabilities in patients after renal transplantation. Specifically in the postoperative setting, CES has been shown to be superior to conventional ultrasound in combination with Doppler imaging in uncovering even subtle microvascular disturbances in the allograft perfusion. In addition, quantitative perfusion parameters derived from CES show predictive capability regarding long-term kidney function.

Concepts: Kidney, Nephrology, Blood, Medical terms, Blood vessel, Renal physiology, Artery, Renal artery


BK virus (BKV) is a non-enveloped DNA virus of the polyomaviridae family that causes an interstitial nephritis in immunosuppressed patients. BKV nephropathy is now a leading cause of chronic kidney disease and early allograft failure following kidney transplantation. It is also known to cause renal disease with a progressive decline in kidney function in non-renal solid organ transplant (NRSOT) recipients, although the disease may not be recognized nor its impact appreciated in this patient population. In this report, we review the existing literature to highlight our current understanding of its incidence in NRSOT populations, the approaches to diagnosis and the potential treatment options.

Concepts: Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Nephrology, Organ, Organ transplant, Kidney transplantation, JC virus, Polyomavirus


Vascular calcification, occurring during late-stage vascular and valvular disease, is highly associated with chronic kidney disease-mineral and bone disorders (CKD-MBD), representing a major risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The hallmark of vascular calcification, which involves both media and intima, is represented by the activation of cells committed to an osteogenic programme. Several studies have analysed the role of circulating calcifying cells (CCCs) in vascular calcification. CCCs are bone marrow (BM)-derived cells with an osteogenic phenotype, participating in intima calcification processes and defined by osteocalcin and bone alkaline phosphatase expression. The identification of CCCs in diabetes and atherosclerosis is the most recent, intriguing and yet uncharted chapter in the scenario of the bone-vascular axis. Whether osteogenic shift occurs in the BM, the bloodstream or both, is not known, and also the factors promoting CCC formation have not been identified. However, it is possible to recognize a common pathogenic commitment of inflammation in atherosclerosis and diabetes, in which metabolic control may also have a role. Currently available studies in patients without CKD did not find an association of CCCs with markers of bone metabolism. Preliminary data on CKD patients indicate an implication of mineral bone disease in vascular calcification, as a consequence of functional and anatomic integrity interruption of BM niches. Given the pivotal role that parathyroid hormone and osteoblasts play in regulating expansion, mobilization and homing of haematopoietic stem/progenitors cells, CKD-MBD could promote CCC formation.

Concepts: Immune system, Bone, Cancer, Metabolism, Bone marrow, Alkaline phosphatase, Organ, Calcification


Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most commonly diagnosed adult leukemia in the USA and Western Europe. Kidney disease can present in patients with CLL as a manifestation of the disease process such as acute kidney injury with infiltration or with a paraneoplastic glomerular disease or as a manifestation of extra renal obstruction and tumor lysis syndrome. In the current era of novel targeted therapies, kidney disease can also present as a complication of treatment. Tumor lysis syndrome associated with novel agents such as the B-cell lymphoma 2 inhibitor venetoclax and the monoclonal antibody obinutuzumab are important nephrotoxicities associated with these agents. Here we review the various forms of kidney diseases associated with CLL and its therapies.


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients experience a high symptom burden including fatigue, sleep difficulties, muscle weakness and pain. These symptoms reduce levels of physical function (PF) and activity, and contribute to poor health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Despite the gathering evidence of positive physiological changes following exercise in CKD, there is limited evidence on its effect on self-reported symptom burden, fatigue, HRQoL and physical activity.


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a public health problem. Although physical activity is essential for the prevention and treatment of most chronic diseases, exercise is rarely prescribed for CKD patients. The objective of the study was to search for and appraise evidence on the effectiveness of exercise interventions on health endpoints in CKD patients. A systematic review was performed of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) designed to compare exercise with usual care regarding effects on the health of CKD patients. MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Central, Clinical Trials registry, and proceedings of major nephrology conference databases were searched, using terms defined according to the PICO (Patient, Intervention, Comparison and Outcome) methodology. RCTs were independently evaluated by two reviewers. A total of 5489 studies were assessed for eligibility, of which 59 fulfilled inclusion criteria. Most of them included small samples, lasted from 8 to 24 weeks and applied aerobic exercises. Three studies included only kidney transplant patients, and nine included pre-dialysis patients. The remaining RCTs allocated hemodialysis patients. The outcome measures included quality of life, physical fitness, muscular strength, heart rate variability, inflammatory and nutritional markers and progression of CKD. Most of the trials had high risk of bias. The strongest evidence is for the effects of aerobic exercise on improving physical fitness, muscular strength and quality of life in dialysis patients. The benefits of exercise in dialysis patients are well established, supporting the prescription of physical activity in their regular treatment. RCTs including patients in earlier stages of CKD and after kidney transplantation are urgently required, as well as studies assessing long-term outcomes. The best exercise protocol for CKD patients also remains to be established.

Concepts: Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Nephrology, Dialysis, Medicine, Physical exercise, Exercise, Strength training


Conversion from tacrolimus to belatacept has been shown to be beneficial for an increasing number of kidney transplant (KT) patients. Predicting factors for favorable outcomes are still unknown. We aimed to investigate whether histological vascular lesions at the time of conversion might correlate with greater improvement in renal function post-conversion.


Increasing concerns about recruitment and retention of junior doctors have led to renewed interest in how and when trainees choose their specialties. To our knowledge, no study has yet reported what attracts UK applicants to nephrology nor how clinicians develop vocational interests or make occupational choices. With this in mind, we sought to explore the motivation behind current nephrologist’s career choices in the UK. We interviewed 11 nephrologists using a semi-structured face-to-face approach and used interpretative phenomenological analysis to conduct and analyse the interviews. We found role models were pivotal in encouraging specialization in nephrology, particularly those encountered in early postgraduate training. The diversity, diagnostic challenge and cross-specialty knowledge was highlighted as well as the ability to ‘make a difference to patients’ lives'. Nephrologists enjoyed the challenge of managing very sick, acutely unwell patients as well as the holistic continuity of long-term care offered to dialysis patients and their families. Academic and procedural components were attractive motivators to the specialty and the flexibility to have multiple interests was noted, with many nephrologists having ‘portfolio’ careers. Based on these results, we suggest strategies the specialty can use to aid policy decision making, promote recruitment and improve educational experiences within current training programmes.


The number of citations of a scientific article is considered a weight of that work in the field of interest. Bibliometric analysis of the most cited articles conducted in some medical disciplines has identified the most relevant scientific contributions that pushed forward knowledge and clinical practice of that discipline.


Nephrology is a young medical specialty that has evolved and expanded during the last 4 decades of the past century, becoming recognized as one of the most innovative and challenging medical specialties. The training of nephrology takes place mainly in public hospitals, and there are important variations in the duration and assessment of training among the European countries. The Union of European Medical Specialties (UEMS) Renal Section and the European Renal Association-European Dialysis and Transplant Association have been working jointly since 2010 to harmonize European nephrology training and more recently to establish the European Certificate in Nephrology (ECN). The first two editions of the ECN were held in early 2017 and 2018. In total, 122 candidates from 26 countries have sat for the exam, with a success rate of 59% (72/122). To date, Switzerland has adopted the exam as their national training assessment and we expect that other countries will join Switzerland in the near future. Fostering the development and importance of the ECN requires that member states work to increase the academic and professional profile of the ECN within their countries. The ECN should be considered a ‘quality mark’ and a sign of high achievement in nephrology training in Europe. If holding the ECN becomes advantageous for employment or improving scientific careers, the number of candidates will increase and the sustainability of the ECN will be guaranteed. A recent, positive development is the pre-agreement between the UEMS Renal Section, UK Renal Association and Royal Colleges of the UK to adopt a unique pan-European exam beginning in 2020. However, any decision to commence the pan-European exam will depend, in part, on strong candidate enrolment for the ECN 2019 edition. Thus support of the national societies is crucial for the sustainability and growth of a European exam, because of their capacities to influence strategic policies in hospitals, universities and medical associations, with a longer-term aim to increase the professional recognition of the European exam.