Evaluation of Serum Symmetric Dimethylarginine Concentration as a Marker for Masked Chronic Kidney Disease in Cats With Hyperthyroidism

Peterson ME, Varela FV, Rishniw M, et al.

J Vet Intern Med 2018;32:295-304.

BACKGROUND: Hyperthyroidism can complicate (mask) the diagnosis of chronic kidney disease (CKD) because it increases glomerular filtration rate and decreases body muscle mass, both of which can lower serum creatinine concentrations. Currently, there is no clinical test that can reliably predict which hyperthyroid cats have concurrent azotemic CKD that will become apparent after treatment of the hyperthyroidism. OBJECTIVES: To investigate serum symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA) concentration as a potential marker of masked azotemia in untreated hyperthyroid cats. ANIMALS: Two hundred and sixty-two hyperthyroid cats and 206 aged-matched, clinically normal cats. METHODS: Prospective study. We measured creatinine, urea nitrogen, SDMA, T4 , and TSH concentrations before and 1, 3, and 6 months after treatment with radioiodine ((131) I) and classified (131) I-treated cats as azotemic or nonazotemic based on persistent, post-treatment creatinine concentrations >2.1 mg/dL. Groups were compared via nonparametric tests, and diagnostic accuracy was determined by receiver operating characteristic analysis and logistic regression. RESULTS: No hyperthyroid cats were azotemic before treatment, but 42 (16%) became azotemic when rechecked at 4-8 months (median, 6 months) after (131) I treatment; of these, 14 had high SDMA concentrations before treatment. As a diagnostic test for pre-azotemic (masked) CKD in untreated hyperthyroid cats, SDMA showed a sensitivity of 33.3% and specificity of 97.7%. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Finding a high serum SDMA concentration in a hyperthyroid cat can help predict development of azotemia after treatment. The test has high diagnostic test specificity (few false-positive results) but relatively low sensitivity (fails to predict azotemia in most hyperthyroid cats).