The Kidney Foundation of Canada

Meet Dr. Tangri: Ground-breaking kidney researcher

  By Melanie Ferris

 

“People think chronic kidney disease is uncommon,” says Dr. Tangri. “People don’t talk about it.”

 

In fact, Manitoba has rapidly rising rates of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Sadly, our province has the highest rates of end-stage kidney disease compared to the rest of Canada.

 

Manitoba resident Navdeep Tangri is a great person to speak about regarding these issues, as he’s doing ground-breaking research in the area of kidney health. I recently took some time to catch up with Dr. Tangri.

 

“We need to look at the epidemic of diabetes,” says Dr. Tangri when asked about how we can combat the rising rates of kidney disease. “We need to screen and diagnose Manitobans for diabetes early. We really need a federal, provincial, and municipal diabetes strategy.”

 

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of CKD.

 

Predicting kidney failure

In January 2016, Dr. Tangri published a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association about predicting when people living with CKD would reach kidney failure.

 

Dr. Tangri says a common misconception about the disease is that it equals kidney failure. Some patients may never get to that stage.

 

Many people with CKD feel stress when wondering about when their kidneys might fail. Dr. Tangri developed a computer application that can help a person to plan their life and to take steps that might help to delay kidney failure.

 

To calculate the risk of whether a patient’s kidney may fail in the next two to five years, medical professionals can look at a person’s urine albumin; their sex (male or female); age; and their glomerular filtration rate.

 

A useful tool for primary care providers

Dr. Tangri has an app that is available through the QxMD website (www.qxmd.com). Use the search terms “Kidney Failure Risk Equation” to find the application. It’s a useful device for primary care providers to download onto their phones. This tool can help health care providers gauge the risk of kidney failure. You can read more about the tool in the sidebar.

 

One of Dr. Tangri’s main goals is to keep people living with CKD from progressing to kidney failure. “Dialysis negatively affects a patient’s life. Our job is absolutely to prevent dialysis.”

 

“We need help getting the word out to primary care providers about CKD,” explains Dr. Tangri, stating that most people with CKD are treated by their primary health care providers. “We’re meeting 30 family physicians in the next month.”

 

Staying healthy with CKD

Knowing your risk is helpful for planning your life,” says Dr. Tangri when explaining why his risk equation is helpful for people in the early stages of CKD.

 

Some advice he would give to people in the early stages of the disease would be to maintain really good blood pressure control and blood sugar control; avoid medications (eg; anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen and naproxen can be hard on your kidneys); and make healthy lifestyle changes.

 

On a personal level, Dr. Tangri is passionate about food, being active, soccer and travelling. He stays active by playing squash regularly. 

 

As a nephrologist, he says he "tries not to restrict diets unless absolutely necessary."

 

Dr. Tangri explains that eating healthy doesn't have to be complicates, saying that he made his previous evening's dinner in just 30 minutes, consisting of scallops, broccoli and sweet potato.

 

A shining light in Manitoba

Although he was raised in Mississauga, Ontario, 36-year-old Navdeep Tangri now calls Manitoba home. He is an attending physician at the Seven Oaks Hospital in Winnipeg as well as an Associate Professor at the University of Manitoba.

 

Many who know him would argue that Dr. Tangri is one of Manitoba’s finest. He is humble and down-to-earth, and possesses a great sense of humour that surely puts his patients and colleagues at ease.

 

 

"It is a priviledge to work with a brilliant academic clinician like Dr. Tangri," says Dr. Paul Komenda, Associate Professor of Medicine in Nephrology at the University of Manitoba, and Director of Research and Home Hemodialysis at Seven Oaks General Hospiyal. "His scientific vision, execution and reputation are all world-class, but to work with someone sach as [Dr. Tangri] who is humble, collaborative, compassionate and without entitlement is truly an honour."

 

We know that Dr. Tangri’s research is positively impacting the lives of people living with kidney disease throughout the world, not just here in Manitoba. He has been widely published and has active research grants from the Canadian Institute of Health Research, Research Manitoba, and the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

 

These days, Dr. Tangri is conducting a large prospective study on frailty, physical, and cognitive function in people with advanced CKD. He plans tospend the next 4 to 5 years putting the best evidence for kidney care into practice. He has an innovative approach, and wants to “break the old mold of research.” He speaks of overhauling the way that people are detected with CKD using electronic health records. He is looking at developing an Ipad platform that would incorporate a scale, somewhat similar to a fitbit device.

 

We hope that Dr. Tangri will continue to make Manitoba his home. It sounds like a good plan, as he enjoys living in a province where you can easily connect with people who can help you further your goals of helping others. Dr. Tangri also happens to love his workplace, explaining, “My colleagues are outstanding and are very innovative.”

 

Do you want to learn more about Dr. Tangri’s research? Visit his website at: www.kidneyfailurerisk.com

 

 

About Dr. Tangri’s Risk Equation

The kidney failure risk equations were developed in patients with CKD stages G3-G5 referred to nephrologists in Canada, and have now been validated in more than 700,000 individuals spanning 30+ countries worldwide.

The four and eight variable equations accurately predict the 2 and 5 year probability of treated kidney failure (dialysis or transplantation) for a potential patient with CKD Stage 3 to 5. Predicted risks may differ from observed risks in clinical populations with lower and higher observed risks than the study population, and a calibration factor for non-North American cohorts has been added. 

Determining the probability of kidney failure may be useful for patient and provider communication, triage and management of nephrology referrals and timing of dialysis access placement and living related kidney transplant. Prospective trials evaluating the utility of this instrument for clinical decision making are in progress.

 

 

 Dr. Tangri

 

Fun facts about Dr. Tangri

 

Favourite way to be active

Play squash

 

Favourite soccer team

Arsenal FC

 

Favourite restaurants in Winnipeg

Segovia and Wasabi

 

Favourite places to travel

South Africa, Thailand, Southeast Asia

 

Favourite city

Paris

 

Fun plans for the spring time

He’s getting married in May