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J Gen Intern Med. 1999 Feb;14(2):88-97.

Screening and treatment of diabetic nephropathy by primary care physicians.

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Diabetes Research and Training Center, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis 46202, USA.



To describe the practices of Indiana primary care physicians related to diabetic nephropathy screening and management.


Cross-sectional, observational.


The state of Indiana.


Active primary care physicians (defined as general internists, family practitioners, and general practitioners) in Indiana who provided care for diabetic patients at the time of the survey (n = 1,018)


Practice patterns relevant to microalbuminuria and overt albuminuria screening and management were assessed along two dimensions: the percentage of patients to whom the practices were applied and the frequency with which the practices were performed. Of 1,141 physicians who responded to the survey, 1,018 were eligible for analysis. Eighty-six percent of physicians reported screening more than half of their patients with type 1 diabetes for overt albuminuria, as did 82% of physicians for their patients with type 2 diabetes. Only 17% of physicians indicated performing microalbuminuria testing on more than half of their type 1 patients. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor agents were used frequently to treat abnormal urinary albumin excretion when hypertension was present, but less often when hypertension was absent. Physician specialty, year of graduation from medical school, practice location, and familiarity with the results of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial were significant predictors of screening and treatment practice patterns.


Primary care physicians report practices that allow them to detect overt albuminuria but not microalbuminuria. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are frequently used by physicians who test for microalbuminuria, but efforts to increase the detection of early renal damage are needed so that these agents and other therapeutic strategies may be employed at the earliest opportunity.

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