Retooling the creatinine clearance equation to estimate kinetic GFR when the plasma creatinine is changing acutely

Sheldon Chen
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology: JASN 2013, 24 (6): 877-88
It is often desirable to estimate the GFR (eGFR) at the bedside to assess AKI or renal recovery. Current eGFR equations estimate kidney function when the plasma creatinine is stable, but do not work if the plasma creatinine is changing rapidly. To analyze kidney function in the acute setting, a simple formula is proposed that requires only a modest number of inputs that are readily obtainable from clinical laboratory data. The so-called kinetic eGFR (KeGFR) formula is derived from the initial creatinine content, volume of distribution, creatinine production rate, and the quantitative difference between consecutive plasma creatinines over a given time. For that period, the deciphered creatinine excretion then yields the creatinine clearance rate. The additional formula variables needed are any steady-state plasma creatinine, the corresponding eGFR by an empirical formula, and the maximum increase in creatinine per day if anuric. The kinetic formula complements clinical intuition but also adds a quantitative and visual dimension to the assessment of kidney function, demonstrated by its analysis of GFRs underlying the plasma creatinine fluctuations in several scenarios of AKI or renal recovery. Deduced from first principles regarding the physiology of creatinine balance, the KeGFR formula enhances the fundamental clearance equation with the power and versatility to estimate the kidney function when the plasma creatinine is varying acutely.

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