Electrolyte Blood Press.  2021 Dec;19(2):29-37. 10.5049/EBP.2021.19.2.29.

Metabolic Acidosis in Chronic Kidney Disease: Pathogenesis, Clinical Consequences, and Treatment

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Pusan National University School of Medicine, Busan, Republic of Korea
  • 2Biomedical Research Institute, Pusan National University Hospital, Busan, Republic of Korea

Abstract

The kidneys play an important role in regulating the acid-base balance. Metabolic acidosis is common in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients and can lead to poor outcomes, such as bone demineralization, muscle mass loss, and worsening of renal function. Metabolic acidosis is usually approached with evaluating the serum bicarbonate levels but should be assessed by counting blood pH. Current guidelines recommend oral bicarbonate supplementation to maintain the serum bicarbonate levels within the normal range. However, a slow decline in the glomerular filtration rate might occur, even though the serum bicarbonate levels were in the normal range. Because the serum bicarbonate levels decrease when metabolic acidosis advances, other biomarkers are necessary to indicate acid retention for early diagnosis of metabolic acidosis. For this, urine citrate and ammonium excretion may be used to follow the course of CKD patients. Metabolic acidosis can be treated with an increased fruit and vegetable intake and oral alkali supplementation. Previous studies have suggested that administration of oral sodium bicarbonate may preserve kidney function without significant increases in blood pressure and body weight. Veverimer, a non-absorbed, counterion-free, polymeric drug, is emerging to treat metabolic acidosis, but further researches are awaited. Further studies are also needed to clarify the target therapeutic range of serum bicarbonate and the drugs used for metabolic acidosis.

Keyword

Chronic kidney disease; Metabolic acidosis; Serum bicarbonate; Total carbon dioxide
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