This Simple Tool Predicts the Progression of Childhood Kidney Disease

A new study from researchers at UCSF found that a simple tool could optimize kidney treatment in children, by reducing dialysis and increasing pre-emptive kidney transplants. The tool is called the kidney failure risk equation, or KFRE, and it is already in use for adults with kidney disease to help optimize dialysis planning.

Dialysis is a detrimental process, both physically and mentally, especially for children, but it is often the first treatment used. It works by removing waste and fluid from the body and replacing the function of normal kidneys. However, a 2016 study discovered that children who were treating with dialysis, instead of a pre-emptive kidney transplant, had a 69% increased risk of death.

On the flip side, currently less than one quarter of children receive a pre-emptive kidney transplant, despite increasing evidence that it improves survival.
With this in mind, the researchers conducted a retrospective study to compare kidney failure risk that was predicted by KFRE and actual outcomes of over 600 children. They realized that the KFRE had a whopping 90% probability of discerning between children that did not reach kidney failure and those that did on year later.
This means that the risk equation helps the clinical team determine when a child will progress to kidney failure, helping to better plan for a transplant. The child can receive vaccinations ahead of schedule if kidney failure seems imminent, and surgeons can better decide which procedure to conduct, among other advantages.
Overall, KFRE uses clinically and readily available data to accurately predict kidney disease progression in both children and adults. In turn, it may help expedite transplants in kids and plan for a better course of treatment.

To learn more about the UCSF study and the KFRE tool, click here!

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