Vascular disease, ESRD, and death: Interpreting competing risk analyses

Morgan E. Grams, Josef Coresh, Dorry L. Segev, Lauren M. Kucirka, Hocine Tighiouart, Mark J. Sarnak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background and objectives Vascular disease, a common condition in CKD, is a risk factor formortality and ESRD. Optimal patient care requires accurate estimation and ordering of these competing risks. Design, setting, participants, & measurements This is a prospective cohort study of screened (n=885) and randomized participants (n=837) in theModification ofDiet in RenalDisease study (original study enrollment, 1989-1992), evaluating the association of vascular diseasewith ESRD and pre-ESRDmortality using standard survival analysis and competing risk regression. Results The method of analysis resulted in markedly different estimates. Cumulative incidence by standard analysis (censoring at the competing event) implied that, with vascular disease, the 15-year incidence was 66% and 51% for ESRD and pre-ESRD death, respectively. A more accurate representation of absolute risk was estimated with competing risk regression: 15-year incidence was 54% and 29% for ESRD and pre-ESRD death, respectively. For the association of vascular disease with pre-ESRD death, estimates of relative risk by the two methodswere similar (standard survival analysis adjusted hazard ratio, 1.63; 95%confidence interval, 1.20-2.20; competing risk regression adjusted subhazard ratio, 1.57; 95% confidence interval, 1.15-2.14). In contrast, the hazard and subhazard ratios differed substantially for other associations, such as GFR and pre-ESRD mortality. Conclusions When competing events exist, absolute risk is better estimated using competing risk regression, but etiologic associations by this method must be carefully interpreted. The presence of vascular disease in CKD decreases the likelihood of survival to ESRD, independent of age and other risk factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1606-1614
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 5 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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