Impact of Educational Attainment on Health Outcomes in Moderate to Severe CKD

Rachael L. Morton, Iryna Schlackow, Natalie Staplin, Alastair Gray, Alan Cass, Richard Haynes, Jonathan Emberson, William Herrington, Martin J. Landray, Colin Baigent, Borislava Mihaylova*, SHARP Collaborative Grp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: The inverse association between educational attainment and mortality is well established, but its relevance to vascular events and renal progression in a population with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is less clear. This study aims to determine the association between highest educational attainment and risk of vascular events, cause-specific mortality, and CKD progression.

Study Design: Prospective epidemiologic analysis among participants in the Study of Heart and Renal Protection (SHARP), a randomized controlled trial.

Setting & Participants: 9,270 adults with moderate to severe CKD (6,245 not receiving dialysis at baseline) and no history of myocardial infarction or coronary revascularization recruited in Europe, North America, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

Predictor: Highest educational attainment measured at study entry using 6 levels that ranged from "no formal education" to "tertiary education."

Outcomes: Any vascular event (any fatal or nonfatal cardiac, cerebrovascular, or peripheral vascular event), cause-specific mortality, and CKD progression during 4.9 years' median follow-up.

Results: There was a significant trend (P <0.001) toward increased vascular risk with decreasing levels of education. Participants with no formal education were at a 46% higher risk of vascular events (relative risk [RR], 1.46; 95% CI, 1.14-1.86) compared with participants with tertiary education. The trend for mortality across education levels was also significant (P <0.001): all-cause mortality was twice as high among those with no formal education compared with tertiary-educated individuals (RR, 2.05; 95% CI, 1.62-2.58), and significant increases were seen for both vascular (RR, 1.84; 95% CI, 1.21-2.81) and nonvascular (RR, 2.15; 95% CI, 1.60-2.89) deaths. Lifestyle factors and prior disease explain most of the excess mortality risk. Among 6,245 participants not receiving dialysis at baseline, education level was not significantly associated with progression to end-stage renal disease or doubling of creatinine level (P for trend = 0.4).

Limitations: No data for employment or health insurance coverage.

Conclusions: Lower educational attainment is associated with increased risk of adverse health outcomes in individuals with CKD. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-39
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2016


  • Chronic kidney failure
  • chronic kidney disease (CKD)
  • education
  • educational attainment
  • disease progression
  • end-stage renal disease (ESRD)
  • vascular event
  • mortality
  • health behavior
  • risk factor
  • socioeconomic factors
  • inequalities
  • renal dialysis
  • Study of Heart and Renal Protection (SHARP)
  • ESRD

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