The impact of daily temperature on renal disease incidence: An ecological study

Matthew Borg, Peng Bi, Monika Nitschke, Susan Williams, Stephen McDonald

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38 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Extremely high temperatures over many consecutive days have been linked to an increase in renal disease in several cities. This is becoming increasingly relevant with heatwaves becoming longer, more intense, and more frequent with climate change. This study aimed to extend the known relationship between daily temperature and kidney disease to include the incidence of eight temperature-prone specific renal disease categories - total renal disease, urolithiasis, renal failure, acute kidney injury (AKI), chronic kidney disease (CKD), urinary tract infections (UTIs), lower urinary tract infections (LUTIs) and pyelonephritis. Methods: Daily data was acquired for maximum, minimum and average temperature over the period of 1 July 2003 to 31 March 2014 during the warm season (October to March) in Adelaide, South Australia. Data for daily admissions to all metropolitan hospitals for renal disease, including 83,519 emergency department admissions and 42,957 inpatient admissions, was also obtained. Renal outcomes were analyzed using time-stratified negative binomial regression models, with the results aggregated by day. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated for associations between the number of admissions and daily temperature. Results: Increases in daily temperature per 1 °C were associated with an increased incidence for all renal disease categories except for pyelonephritis. Minimum temperature was associated with the greatest increase in renal disease followed by average temperature and then maximum temperature. A 1°C increase in daily minimum temperature was associated with an increase in daily emergency department admissions for AKI (IRR 1.037, 95% CI: 1.026-1.048), renal failure (IRR 1.030, 95% CI: 1.022-1.039), CKD (IRR 1.017, 95% CI: 1.001-1.033) urolithiasis (IRR 1.015, 95% CI: 1.010-1.020), total renal disease (IRR 1.009, 95% CI: 1.006-1.011), UTIs (IRR 1.004, 95% CI: 1.000-1.007) and LUTIs (IRR 1.003, 95% CI: 1.000-1.006). Conclusions: An increased frequency of renal disease, including urolithiasis, acute kidney injury and urinary tract infections, is predicted with increasing temperatures from climate change. These results have clinical and public health implications for the management of renal diseases and demand tailored health services. Future research is warranted to analyze individual renal diseases with more comprehensive information regarding renal risk factors, and studies examining mortality for specific renal diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114
JournalEnvironmental Health: A Global Access Science Source
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 27 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute kidney injury
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Heat
  • Lower urinary tract infections
  • Pyelonephritis
  • Renal disease
  • Renal failure
  • Temperature
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Urolithiasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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