A clinico-epidemiological study of cutaneous changes in chronic kidney disease

Chirag Maheshwari, Ajay Kumar, Sanjeev Gupta


Background: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) has emerged as a major public health problem in South Asia. This is attributable to the increase in prevalence of co-morbidities particularly hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Cutaneous manifestations are observed throughout the course of the disease and serve as markers of the disease and its progression. Early diagnosis and treatment is critical in halting the progression of the disease. The objective was to study the prevalence of co-morbidities as well as cutaneous changes in patients with CKD from a rural or semi-urban background in a tertiary care hospital.

Methods: A total of 50 patients with CKD aged 18 years or above detected and managed at a tertiary care teaching hospital in North India were included in the study.

Results: The age of the patients ranged from 18 to 78 years. 35 patients (70%) had a rural background while 15 patients (30%) had a semi-urban background. 37 patients (74%) had co-morbidities including hypertension, diabetes mellitus or both. 17 patients (34%) were on conservative management while 33 patients (66%) were undergoing haemodialysis. Skin changes included nephrogenic pruritus in 30 patients (60%), xerosis in 25 patients (50%), cutaneous infections and infestations in 25 patients (50%), pallor in 22 patients (44%), acquired perforating disorders in 6 patients (12%), purpura in 5 patients (10%), hyperpigmentation in 4 patients (8%) and yellow skin in 1 patient (2%). Hair changes were observed in 20 patients (40%), nail changes in 24 patients (48%) and mucosal changes in 20 patients (40%). None of the patients were found to have bullous dermatoses, calcific uraemic arteriolopathy or nephrogenic systemic fibrosis. 4 patients (8%) included in the study initially reported to dermatology OPD with a specific dermatosis and were detected to have CKD.

Conclusions: The prevalence of co-morbidities including hypertension and diabetes associated with CKD may be lower in rural and semi-urban populations. Nephrogenic pruritus is the most distressing change which impairs the quality of life in these patients. Cutaneous changes may help in early detection and treatment of CKD. 


Chronic kidney disease, Co-morbidities, Cutaneous markers

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