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Aging Dis. 2012 Oct;3(5):360-72. Epub 2012 Aug 6.

Diagnosis and management of chronic kidney disease in the elderly: a field of ongoing debate.

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Kyanous Stavros Patron Dialysis Unit, Patras, Greece.


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is rather common in elderly adults who comprise the fastest growing subset of patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). At present, there are no specific guidelines and recommendations regarding early identification and management of elderly with CKD and the current CKD classification system may overestimate its exact prevalence. Screening strategies based either in a more accurate formula of estimation of GFR alone, or preferably in combination with proteinuria are urgently needed in order to raise awareness and to promote early diagnosis of CKD in the elderly. The number of elderly dialysis patients is also increasing and may lead to severe socio-economic problems worldwide. Both hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis can sustain life, but present various disadvantages. There is a trend for home based dialysis therapies but the results are based on a small number of patients. Recent reports indicate that dialysis may not provide a clear benefit over non-dialysis regarding survival and quality of life issues, especially in the presence of extensive comorbidities. Current practices around the world regarding access to dialysis in the elderly are rather controversial, reflecting each country's health policies and ethical patterns. Although advanced age should not be considered as an absolute contraindication for kidney transplantation, it is not frequently offered in elderly ESRD patients due to the shortage of renal grafts. Global judgment of all physical and mental/psychological issues and full informed consent regarding possible complications are mandatory before listing elderly ESRD patients for kidney transplantation. As scientific evidence is rather scarce, there is an urgent need for prospective studies and an individualized approach for the diagnosis and treatment of the elderly CKD patients, in order to optimize care and improve quality of life in this special population.


Chronic kidney disease; elderly; hemodialysis; peritoneal dialysis; renal transplantation

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