Structural equation modeling (SEM) of kidney function markers and longitudinal CVD risk assessment

Ryosuke Fujii, Roberto Melotti, Martin Gögele, Laura Barin, Dariush Ghasemi-Semeskandeh, Giulia Barbieri, Peter P. Pramstaller, Cristian Pattaro

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Lower kidney function is known to enhance cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. It is unclear which estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) equation best predict an increased CVD risk and if prediction can be improved by integration of multiple kidney function markers. We performed structural equation modeling (SEM) of kidney markers and compared the performance of the resulting pooled indexes with established eGFR equations to predict CVD risk in a 10-year longitudinal population-based design. We split the study sample into a set of participants with only baseline data (n = 647; model-building set) and a set with longitudinal data (n = 670; longitudinal set). In the model-building set, we fitted five SEM models based on serum creatinine or creatinine-based eGFR (eGFRcre), cystatin C or cystatin-based eGFR (eGFRcys), uric acid (UA), and blood urea nitrogen (BUN). In the longitudinal set, 10-year incident CVD risk was defined as a Framingham risk score (FRS)>5% and a pooled cohort equation (PCE)>5%. Predictive performances of the different kidney function indexes were compared using the C-statistic and the DeLong test. In the longitudinal set, a SEM-based estimate of latent kidney function based on eGFRcre, eGFRcys, UA, and BUN showed better prediction performance for both FRS>5% (C-statistic: 0.70; 95% CI: 0.65–0.74) and PCE>5% (C-statistic: 0.75; 95%CI: 0.71–0.79) than other SEM models and different eGFR formulas (DeLong test p-values<3.21×10−6 for FRS>5% and <1.49×10−9 for PCE>5%, respectively). However, the new derived marker could not outperform eGFRcys (DeLong test p-values = 0.88 for FRS>5% and 0.20 for PCE>5%, respectively). SEM is a promising approach to identify latent kidney function signatures. However, for incident CVD risk prediction, eGFRcys could still be preferrable given its simpler derivation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0280600
JournalPloS one
Issue number4 April
Publication statusPublished - 04-2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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