Evidence for pharmacological interventions to reduce cardiovascular risk for patients with chronic kidney disease: a study protocol of an evidence map

Julia M. T. Colombijn, Demy L. Idema, Kim van der Braak, Rene Spijker, Sabine C. A. Meijvis, Michiel L. Bots, Lotty Hooft, Marianne C. Verhaar & Robin W. M. Vernooij

Published: December 2022



Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) require a personalised strategy for cardiovascular risk management (CVRM) to reduce their high risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Despite their high risk, patients with CKD appear to be underrepresented in randomised controlled trials (RCTs) for pharmacological CVRM interventions to reduce cardiovascular risk (pharmacological CVRM interventions). As a result, it remains unclear whether the efficacy of these interventions found in patients without CKD is similarly applicable to patients with CKD. This evidence map aims to provide an overview of the availability of the evidence from pharmacological CVRM trials for patients with CKD by assessing how often patients with reduced kidney function are specifically excluded or included from RCTs on pharmacological CVRM interventions and whether studies report efficacy estimates of interventions specifically for kidney patients.


We will perform a systematic literature search in to identify relevant planned, ongoing, and completed RCTs on a broad range of CVRM medications after which we will retrieve the published protocols and papers via itself, Embase, MEDLINE, or Google Scholar. We will include RCTs that investigate the efficacy of platelet inhibitors, anticoagulants, antihypertensives, glucose-lowering medication, and lipid-lowering medication on all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, cardiovascular morbidity, and end-stage kidney disease in patients with a cardiovascular history or a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Two reviewers will independently screen trial records and their corresponding full-text publications to determine eligibility and extract data. Outcomes of interest are the exclusion of patients with reduced kidney function from RCTs and whether the study population was restricted to kidney patients or subgroup analyses were performed on kidney function. Results will be visualised in an evidence map.


The availability of evidence on the efficacy and safety of pharmacological CVRM interventions in patients with CKD might be limited. Hence, we will identify knowledge gaps for future research. At the same time, the availability of evidence, or lack thereof, might warrant caution from healthcare decision-makers in making strong recommendations based on the extrapolation of results from studies to patients who were explicitly excluded from participation.

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