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Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2008 Mar;3(2):616-23. doi: 10.2215/CJN.04381007. Epub 2008 Feb 20.

Screening for chronic kidney disease: where does Europe go?

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Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, University Medical Center Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, 9713 EZ Groningen, Netherlands.


This review discusses various screening approaches for chronic kidney disease that are used in Europe. The criterion for defining chronic kidney disease in the various programs differs but is frequently limited to estimated glomerular filtration rate, thus offering only data on chronic kidney disease stages 3 and higher; however, screening should not be limited to measuring only estimated glomerular filtration rate but should also include a measure of microalbuminuria, because this will offer identification of chronic kidney disease stages 1 and 2. Defining these earlier stages is of importance because the risk for developing end-stage renal disease that is associated with stages 1 and 2 is nearly equal to the risk that is associated with stage 3. Moreover, the risk for cardiovascular events in stages 1 and 2 is equal to that in stage 3. Various reports argue that costs of screening programs in general practitioner or outpatient offices are high and that they are cost-effective only for preventing end-stage renal disease when they are limited to target groups, such as patients with diabetes or hypertension and elderly. The benefits of screening programs, however, should not be evaluated only with respect to the prevention of renal events but should also include the benefits of preventing cardiovascular events. The use of preselection based on either an impaired estimated glomerular filtration rate or on protein-dipstick positivity or elevated albuminuria in a morning urine void has been found effective in various European countries as an alternative for targeted screening.

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