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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2011 Sep;22(9):1729-36. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2010111217. Epub 2011 Aug 1.

Dipstick proteinuria as a screening strategy to identify rapid renal decline.

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Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.


Rapid kidney function decline (RKFD) predicts cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, but serial assessment of estimated GFR (eGFR) is not cost-effective for the general population. Here, we evaluated the predictive value of albuminuria and three thresholds of dipstick proteinuria to identify RKFD in 2,574 participants in a community-based prospective cohort study with a median of 7 years follow-up. Median change in eGFR was -0.78 ml/min per 1.73 m(2) per year; with 8.5% experiencing RKFD, defined as a >5% annual eGFR decline from baseline. Of those with RKFD, 65% advanced to a new CKD stage compared with 19% of those without RKFD. Dipstick protein ≥ 1 g/L was a stronger predictor of RKFD than albuminuria. Overall, 2.5% screened positive for dipstick protein ≥ 1 g/L at baseline; one of every 2.6 patients would have RKFD if all were followed with serial eGFR measurement. Overall, the screening strategy correctly identified progression status for 90.8% of patients, mislabeled 1.5% as RKFD, and missed 7.7% with eventual RKFD. Among those with risk factors (cardiovascular disease, age >60, diabetes, or hypertension), the probability of identifying RKFD from serial eGFR measurements increased from 13 to 44% after incorporating dipstick protein (≥ 1 g/L threshold). In summary, inexpensive screening with urine dipstick should allow primary care physicians to follow fewer patients with serial eGFR assessment but still identify those with rapid decline of kidney function.

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