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Rev Med Suisse Romande. 2002 Dec;122(12):625-30.

[Glomerular filtration markers in pediatrics].

[Article in French]

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Service de Pédiatrie, Unité de Néphrologie CHUV, BH 11, 1011 Lausanne.


The assessment of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is critical for the diagnosis and management of renal diseases in pediatric nephrology. Ideally, it requires the measurement of the renal clearance of a filtration marker. Inulin, an exogenous marker, is the only compound the excretion of which occurs exclusively by glomerular filtration, with no tubular handling. Therefore, inulin clearance provides the most accurate method to measure GFR and is considered as the "gold standard", at all ages including very premature neonates. However, inulin dearance is cumbersome and alternative methods are used in clinical practice. If urine is available, endogenous creatinine clearance is the most reliable method. When urine collection is difficult to obtain, GFR can be estimated by the plasma concentration of endogenous markers mainly eliminated by glomerular filtration, such as creatinine, or the more recently described cystatin C and beta 2-microglobulin. When the endogenous production of these markers is constant, their plasma concentration reflects glomerular filtration; it increases with decreasing renal function. However, in pediatric patients creatinine production depends on muscle mass, which significantly increases with linear growth, as well as age and gender. Mathematical formulas taking these parameters into account have thus been developed. Among these, the so-called "Schwartz formula" is often used and is a reliable estimate of GFR in children. Finally, radionuclide renal scans can be used to evaluate the separate glomerular function of each kidney.

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