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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.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Kidney Dis

Publication Date





31 - 39


Chronic kidney failure, Study of Heart and Renal Protection (SHARP), chronic kidney disease (CKD), disease progression, education, educational attainment, end-stage renal disease (ESRD), health behavior, inequalities, mortality, renal dialysis, risk factor, socioeconomic factors, vascular event, Aged, Anticholesteremic Agents, Disease Progression, Educational Status, Ezetimibe, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Renal Insufficiency, Chronic, Severity of Illness Index, Simvastatin, Vascular Diseases