Alternate Method for Staging Chronic Kidney Disease Could be Cheaper and More Widely Available

According to a story from Physician’s Weekly, while measuring the concentration of albumin (albuminuria) is widely considered the standard method for staging and screening for chronic kidney disease, a different method recently assessed in a scientific study could prove to be similarly effective while being less expensive and more widely accessible. The method involves measuring the protein-creatinine ratio (PCR). In the study, the researchers developed an equation that could convert PCR to albumin-creatinine ratio (ACR).

About Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease is an illness in which the functionality of the kidneys is affected over time. This progressive disease can occur over a period of months or years and often results in eventual kidney failure. This disease often causes no symptoms at first. There are a number of risk factors for chronic kidney disease, such as diabetes, glomerulonephritis, family history, and high blood pressure. The cause is not known in all cases. As the disease progresses, symptoms such as leg swelling, confusion, fatigue, vomiting, loss of appetite, heart disease, bone disease, anemia, and high blood pressure may appear. Treatment may include dietary changes, certain medications, and, in later stages, dialysis or kidney transplant. The most common cause of death for people with chronic kidney disease is cardiovascular disease, which may appear before the kidneys completely shut down. To learn more about chronic kidney disease, click here.

About the Research

The equation was based on data from a mass-scale, participant meta-analysis which included 900,000 people. Researcher Keiichi Sumida, MD, PhD, said that results using the equation compared favorably to threshold estimates that are part of the typical guidelines that are used for the staging of chronic kidney disease. In effect, this new method results in a predicted ACR.

Although the equations developed for the research will need to continue to be tested further in order to demonstrate their usefulness, the authors believe that predicted ACR as calculated by these equations could be an effective substitute. PCR (or urine dipstick protein) measures are more widely available and are less costly. However, these measures are not as useful as ACR and therefore there were still significant disadvantages to using them. This new calculation method of estimated ACR could help close the gap.

Check out the original study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, here.

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