Rochester, Minnesota Clinical Profile


James T. McCarthy, M.D., is a clinical nephrologist with a primary focus of improving survival and quality of life for patients with chronic kidney disease, primarily those receiving chronic dialysis.

His studies generally revolve around analysis of patient outcomes and factors that impact these outcomes. Dr. McCarthy also participates in interventional trials that support his areas of focus.

Focus areas

  • Mineral metabolism in patients with chronic kidney disease. Dr. McCarthy is interested in interventions to improve phosphorus control in these patients; control the tendency to develop hyperparathyroidism, a disorder that accelerates hardening of the arteries and weakens bone structure; and successfully treat calciphylaxis, a severe and often fatal disorder of skin ulcers.
  • Anemia control in patients with chronic kidney disease. Dr. McCarthy has worked to develop computer-based systems to guide physicians in the most efficient use of iron products and erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (drugs that help the body produce red blood cells), as well as maintain hemoglobin values in a safe range for patients.

    This is important because proper use of these medications can avoid transfusions and improve overall sense of well-being for these patients.

  • Circulation access for chronic dialysis patients. The most efficient and proper use of circulatory access for hemodialysis — venous catheters or fistulas — is very important because these are "lifelines" for patients with chronic kidney disease. Development of best practices will help patients in this regard.

Significance to patient care

Dr. McCarthy's investigations will help decrease hospitalization, improve survival and lead to higher quality of life for patients with chronic kidney disease.

Nearly 500,000 patients are on dialysis or have kidney transplants in the U.S., and there may be up to 10 million to 20 million patients in the U.S. with significant chronic kidney disease that would benefit by improvements in these areas.

Professional highlights

  • Chair, Division of Nephrology & Hypertension, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., 2009-present
  • Member, Board of Directors, Mayo Clinic Health System, 2001-2010
  • Chair and/or Member, Medical Review Committee, ESRD Network 11, 1990-2009
  • Chair (physician leader), Mayo Clinic Health System Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Oversight Group, 2005-2009
  • Member, Medical Advisory Council, National Forum of ESRD Networks, 2006-2009
  • Clinical Director, Technical Expert Panel for Clinical Performance Measures for Bone and Mineral Disorders in End-Stage Renal Disease, 2004-2005
  • Member, National Kidney Foundation Workgroup for Development of Guidelines for Kidney Disease Outcome Quality Initiative (K-DOQI) for Bone Disease, 2000-2003


Administrative Appointment

  1. Emeritus, Division of Nephrology & Hypertension, Department of Internal Medicine

Academic Rank

  1. Professor of Medicine


  1. National Research Service Award Trainee, United States Public Health Service NIH Training Grant, #07013
  2. Fellow - Nephrology Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  3. Resident - Internal Medicine Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  4. MD University of Kansas School of Medicine
  5. BA - Biochemistry University of Kansas

Clinical Studies

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