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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2002 Jan;17(1):81-5.

Microalbumin measurement alone or calculation of the albumin/creatinine ratio for the screening of hypertension patients?

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Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Vienna, Waeringer Guertel 18-20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.



Spot urine sampling seems to be a reliable screening method for the detection of microalbuminuria in hypertensive patients. It remains unclear whether microalbumin measurement alone or calculation of the albumin/creatinine ratio (ACR) are more reliable for the detection of microalbuminuria in non-selected hypertensive patients.


Following collection of a spot, midstream urine sample, urine was collected for 24 h for the measurement of microalbumin in 264 hypertensive patients. We compared microalbumin concentration in the spot urine with microalbumin measured in the 24-h urine sample and examined the utility of the ACR in evaluating microalbuminuria in hypertensive patients. Pathologic microalbuminuria was assumed when the microalbumin concentration exceeded 30 mg/l in the 24-h urine sample. Diagnostic performance is expressed in terms of specificity, sensitivity, positive (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV), and area under receiver operating characteristics curve (AUC).


A total of 47 samples (17.8%) showed pathologic microalbuminuria in the 24-h urine sample. The diagnostic performance expressed as AUC was 0.94 (95% CI 0.90-0.98) for microalbumin measurement alone and 0.94 (95% CI 0.89-0.97) for ACR. The PPV and NPV were 44.2 and 97.9% for microalbumin measurement alone. ACR revealed a PPV of 29.3% and a NPV of 96.2% for males and 42.9 and 98% for females, if a cut-off value of 2.5 mg/mmol for males and of 4.0 mg/mmol for females was used.


The ACR did not provide any advantage compared with microalbumin measurement alone, but requires an additional determination of creatinine and the use of gender-specific cut-off values. Therefore, measurement of microalbuminuria alone in the spot urine sample is more convenient in daily clinical practice and should be used as the screening method for hypertensive patients.

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