A recent study suggests measuring a specific hormone in kidney patients can help doctors identify whether they require dialysis or not.
According to media reports, researchers said, measure of a hormone called FGF-23 can predict which patients will end up needing dialysis.
The higher the hormone levels, the greater the chance the patient will die, the authors explained.
"This discovery allows us to predict at-risk patients before they require dialysis," said lead author Dr. Michel Chonchol of the University of Colorado School of Medicine. "That's critical because approximately 23% of patients on dialysis die in the first year."
“Prior to a patient going on dialysis the phosphorous levels shoot up,” Chonchol said. Till now, doctors had been measuring phosphorous levels to monitor kidney disease patients. When the phosphorous levels get too high, the patient requires dialysis.
However, the new research explains, FGF-23 levels rise before phosphorous levels do, which means doctors can intervene with drugs.
In the words of Dr. Chonchol, it could be "a marker that could save lives."