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The impact of population-based identification of chronic kidney disease using estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) reporting

Nick Richards, Kevin Harris, Malcolm Whitfield, Donal O'Donoghue, Robert Lewis, Martin Mansell, Stephen Thomas, John Townend, Mick Eames, Daniele Marcelli
Nephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation 2008, 23 (2): 556-61
18065790

BACKGROUND: The object of this study was to determine the impact of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) reporting, as part of a disease management programme (DMP), and clarify the prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and the level of un-met need in a UK Primary Care Trust.

METHODS: Our approach was to prospectively identify patients with an eGFR <60 ml/min/1.73 m(2) using the four-variable MDRD equation in all patients from West Lincolnshire PCT (population 185 434 over the age of 15 years) having a routine estimation of serum creatinine.

RESULTS: During the first 12 months of the programme 25.4% of the population had an eGFR reported. The likelihood of having an eGFR reported increased markedly with age. The prevalence of CKD stages 3-5 within primary care was 7.3%. Only 3.7% of patients with CKD stages 3-5 were under nephrology care compared to 13.7% in non-nephrology secondary care and 82.6% in primary care. There were marked differences in the male to female ratio between primary care and nephrology care, 1:1.9 versus 0.6:1, respectively (P < 0.001). The incidence of newly identified patients with CKD stages 4 and 5 was 0.16%. Initially there was a marked (up to 7-fold month on month) rise in nephrology referrals following institution of eGFR reporting which was reversed by the introduction of a referral management service as part of the DMP. Only 33% of patients with CKD stage 4 or 5, identified from within primary care, went on to have a nephrology referral in the subsequent 12 months compared with 44% and 78% respectively identified from non-nephrology secondary care (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: The reporting of the eGFR in association with this DMP effectively identified patients with CKD. A referral assessment programme can effectively ensure appropriate nephrology referral and avoids exceeding the capacity of nephrology services. The vast majority of patients with CKD stages 3-5 are cared for within primary care. There are marked gender differences in the prevalence of CKD stages 3-5 that are not reflected by referral patterns to nephrology services. There are significant differences in referral practices between primary and secondary care. In a steady state the burden of incident patients with CKD stages 4-5 should not exceed the capacity of the local nephrology service.

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