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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2012 Dec;67(12):1387-93. doi: 10.1093/gerona/gls182. Epub 2012 Aug 24.

Loss of renal function in the elderly Italians: a physiologic or pathologic process?

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Unit of Nephrology, IRCCS Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, University of Pavia, Via Maugeri 10, 27100 Pavia, Italy.



Nowadays it seems that chronic kidney disease (CKD) is outbreaking, mostly in the elderly participants. The aim of this study was to assess the progression of CKD in different ages.


We conducted a monocentric, retrospective, observational study enrolling 116 patients afferent to our outpatient clinic.


age >18 years, follow-up ≥5 years, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) <60mL/min/1.73 m(2), and/or diagnosed renal disease and/or presence of renal damage. Patients were divided into four groups according to their age: 25-55 years (n = 27), 56-65 (25), 66-75 (42), and 76-87 (22). eGFR was calculated using the modification of diet in renal disease and the CKD-epidemiology collaboration formulas.


Younger patients had a significantly longer follow-up and less comorbidities, evaluated by the cumulative illness rating scale score, compared with the other groups. There was no difference between creatinine at baseline and at the end-of-follow-up period among the groups. Even though renal function significantly decreased in all groups, we noticed a slower progression as the age increased, and the difference between basal and end-of-follow-up eGFR was minimal in the group of patients aged 76-87 years. Analyzing the eGFR of every ambulatory control plotted against the year of follow-up, we showed a more rapid loss of filtrate in the younger group. Instead, loss of renal function decreased as the age of patients increased.


This study demonstrates that, in elderly Italian participants, progression of CKD occurs more slowly than in younger patients. This implies that we may probably face an epidemic of CKD but that most of elderly patients diagnosed with CKD may not evolve to end-stage renal disease and require renal replacement therapy.

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