Objective: Evidence of the prevalence of renal pathology in military populations is rare, probably as a result of a traditionally cautious military medical attitude that limits applicants with evidence of renal disease joining the Armed Forces and the continued service of military personnel who develop this later. The aim of this paper is to provide the first comprehensive review of renal diseases in a British military population.
Methods: An archive of out-patient consultations, discharge summaries and renal biopsies between 1985 and 2011 was reviewed. Cases were classified according to diagnosis providing a frequency distribution over this 26-year period. Serum creatinine concentration and demographic data permitted retrospective calculation of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) at presentation and follow-up. Calculation of an annualised rate of deterioration of eGFR (ml/min/1.73m2/y) was undertaken when there were at least four follow-up values. In those cases where there was a statistically significant negative correlation with time, the probability of deterioration of renal function according to diagnosis was calculated. Where numbers of patients with a given diagnosis were sufficient for statistical purposes, correlations were also attempted between initial eGFR and both initial mean arterial pressure (MAP) and initial proteinuria.
Results: The most frequent condition was IgA nephropathy, present in 115/346 (33%) of cases. Follow-up data permitted analysis of change in eGFR in 50 of these and 11 (22%) deteriorated. In this condition, there were statistically significant negative correlations between initial eGFR and MAP (r= -0.35, p=0.0008) and proteinuria (r= -0.4, p=0.0006). Other conditions showing deterioration despite therapeutic interventions included adult polycystic kidney disease (15/22=68%) and membranous nephropathy (4/7=57%). Altogether, 8/13 (61%) conditions included cases where eGFR deteriorated and this was present in 40/161 (25%) individual cases.
Conclusions: Cases of renal disease are discovered de novo in serving military personnel and, despite interventions to maintain renal function, a significant proportion deteriorate supporting the traditionally restrictive policy concerning applicants with evidence of renal disease.
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