Understanding prescribing practices and patient experiences with renin angiotensin system inhibitors use in chronic kidney disease: A qualitative study

Jennifer Arney, University of Houston-Clear Lake, USA
Sheena Wydermyer, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, USA
L Parker Gregg, Baylor College of Medicine, USA
Michael A. Herrera, University of Houston-Clear Lake, USA
Peter A. Richardson, University of Houston-Clear Lake, USA
Michael E. Matheny, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, USA
Julia M. Akeroyd, University of Houston-Clear Lake, USA
Glenn T. Gobbel, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, USA
Adriana Hung, Vanderbilt University Medical Center,, USA
Salim S. Virani, Aga Khan University


Introduction: Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) improve outcomes but are underutilized in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Little is known about reasons for discontinuation and lack of reinitiating these medications. We aimed to explore clinicians' and patients' experiences and perceptions of ACEI/ARB use in CKD.
Methods: A multi-profession sample of health care clinicians and patients with documented ACEI/ARB-associated side effects in the past 6 months. Participants were recruited from 2 Veterans Affairs healthcare systems in Texas and Tennessee. A total of 15 clinicians and 10 patients completed interviews. We used inductive and deductive qualitative data analysis approaches to identify themes related to clinician and patient experiences with ACEI/ARB. Thematic analysis focused on prescribing decisions and practices, clinical guidelines, and perception of side effects. Data were analyzed as they amassed, and recruitment was stopped at the point of thematic saturation.
Results: Clinicians prescribe ACEI/ARB for blood pressure control and kidney protection and underscored the importance of these medications in patients with diabetes. While clinicians described providing comprehensive patient education about ACEI/ARB in CKD, patient interviews revealed significant knowledge gaps about CKD and ACEI/ARB use. Many patients were unaware of their CKD status, and some did not know why they were prescribed ACEI/ARB. Clinicians' drug management strategies varied widely, as did their understanding of prescribing guidelines. They identified structural and patient-level barriers to prescribing and many endorsed the development of a decision support tool to facilitate ACEI/ARB prescribing and management.
Discussion/conclusion: Our qualitative study of clinicians and providers identified key target areas for improvement to increase ACEI/ARB utilization in patients with CKD with the goal to improve long-term outcomes in high-risk patients. These findings will also inform the development of a decision support tool to assist with prescribing ACEI/ARBs for patients with CKD.