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Am J Kidney Dis. 2002 Apr;39(4):721-9.

Slowing the progression of chronic renal failure: economic benefits and patients' perspectives.

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Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital, Columbia, MO 65201, USA.


Because of the predicted increase in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) incidence (projected increase from 1998 to 2010; 86,825 to 172,667), prevalence (projected increase from 1998 to 2010; 326,217 to 661,330), and cost (total cost based on 1998 ratio of Medicare versus non-Medicare cost; $16.74 billion in 1998 to $39.35 billion in 2010), a cohesive national effort is needed to develop strategies to slow the progression of chronic renal failure (CRF). The question arises to how much reduction in the progression of CRF would lead to a meaningful decrease in the prevalence and cost of ESRD. There are no objective data that show the economic impact of slowing the progression of CRF. We developed a mathematical model to assess the economic impact of decreasing the progression of CRF by 10%, 20%, and 30%. US Renal Data System (USRDS) projections were used to model the rate of increase in ESRD incidence and prevalence. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) at the initiation of ESRD therapy and cost per patient-year were based on USRDS data. The average decline in GFR in subjects with CRF was estimated to be 7.56 mL/min/y. All dollar savings reflect 1998 costs, discounted for the future at 3% per annum. We also determined how much slowing of the progression of CRF is important from patients' perspectives by means of a written questionnaire (which inquired about willingness to go on a restricted diet, take six extra medications per day, and make six extra office visits per year) and calculation of the pre-ESRD time gained for different degrees of reduction in the progression of CRF. If the rate of decline in GFR decreased by 10%, 20%, and 30% after December 31, 1999, in all patients with GFRs of 60 mL/min or less, cumulative direct healthcare savings through 2010 would equal approximately $18.56, $39.02, and $60.61 billion, respectively. For a 10%, 20%, and 30% decrease in the rate of decline in GFR in all patients with a GFR of 30 mL/min or less, estimated cumulative savings through 2010 equal $9.06, $19.98, and $33.37 billion, respectively. Responses to the questionnaire showed that approximately 79% of subjects with CRF (n = 113) perceived a few weeks' dialysis-free period significant (P < or = 0.0001), a period corresponding to a 10% reduction in the rate of decline in GFR. Our data suggest that the cumulative economic impact of slowing the progression of CRF, even by as little as 10%, would be staggering. They provide strong support for the development and implementation of intensive reno-protective efforts beginning at the early stages of chronic renal disease and continued throughout its course.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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