Elevated fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) levels, measured at a single time, are strongly associated with increased risk of mortality in patients with CKD. There are minimal data on serial FGF23 measurements in CKD. In a prospective case-cohort study of the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort, we measured FGF23 at two to five annual time points (mean 4.061.2) in a randomly selected subcohort of 1135 participants, of whom 203 died, and all remaining 390 participants who died through mid-2013. Higher FGF23 was independently associated with increased risk of death in multivariable-adjusted analyses of time-varying FGF23 (hazard ratio per 1-SD increase in ln-transformed FGF23, 1.84; 95% CI, 1.67 to 2.03). Median FGF23 was stable over 5 years of follow-up, but its gradually right-skewed distribution suggested a subpopulation with markedly elevated FGF23. Trajectory analysis revealed three distinct trajectories: stable FGF23 in the majority of participants (slope of lnFGF23 per year =0.03, 95% CI, 0.02 to 0.04, n=724) and smaller subpopulations with slowly (slope=0.14, 95% CI, 0.12 to 0.16, n=486) or rapidly (slope=0.46, 95% CI, 0.38 to 0.54, n=99) rising levels. Compared with stable FGF23, participants with slowly rising FGF23 trajectories were at 4.49-fold higher risk of death (95% CI, 3.17 to 6.35) and individuals with rapidly rising FGF23 trajectories were at 15.23-fold higher risk of death (95% CI, 8.24 to 28.14) in fully adjusted analyses. Trajectory analyses that used four or three annual FGF23 measurements yielded qualitatively similar results. In conclusion, FGF23 levels are stable over time in the majority of patients with CKD, but serial measurements identify subpopulations with rising levels and exceptionally high risk of death.
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