Cohen Children’s Medical Center Receives American Heart Association Grant to Study Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Children with Nephrotic Syndrome

NEW HYDE PARK, NY – The link between a kidney disorder in children and later-life heart problems will be the subject of a study funded by a research grant from The American Heart Association awarded to the director of Pediatric Nephrology at Cohen Children’s Medical Center.  

The three-year grant – totaling $198,000 – was based on Dr. Christine Sethna’s continuing research into the effects of nephrotic syndrome (a kidney disorder) on the cardiovascular health of children. NS causes the kidneys to leak protein from a patient’s blood into their urine.

“Adult patients with NS are believed to be at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but we don’t know about children,” said Dr. Sethna. “That is the purpose of this study.” 

Dr. Sethna’s research is an ancillary study of a National Institute of Health sponsored collaborative called NEPTUNE that is investigating nephrotic syndrome in adults and children. 

CCMC will be the lead hospital among a dozen hospitals across the country that will examine cardiovascular risk factors in children with NS. Co-investigators at CCMC are cardiologists Rubin Cooper, MD, chief of Pediatric Cardiology, Elena Kwon, MD, head of the Echocardiogram Lab, and Elizabeth Mitchell, MD.

“These children are hypertensive, have high cholesterol and they’re on multiple medications that can make their blood pressure high, so they are exposed to cardiovascular risks at an early age and we don’t know if those risks extend into their future,” said Dr. Sethna.

Pediatric patients involved with the study will undergo echocardiograms, blood work to compile a lipid profile, have the thickness and stiffness of their blood vessels examined, and 24-hour blood pressure tests.

During the tenure of the AHA award, Dr. Sethna will have to submit annual scientific progress reports of her work.


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