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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2015 Mar;30(3):441-51. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfu294. Epub 2014 Sep 30.

Disease burden and risk profile in referred patients with moderate chronic kidney disease: composition of the German Chronic Kidney Disease (GCKD) cohort.

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Department of Nephrology and Hypertension, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, FAU, Erlangen, Germany.
Department of Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany Department of Medical Biometry, Informatics, and Epidemiology, (IMBIE), University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.
Division of Nephrology, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.
Department of Internal Medicine III, University Hospital Jena, Jena, Germany.
Department of Nephrology and Clinical Immunology, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.
Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, University Hospital of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.
Division of Genetic Epidemiology, Department of Medical Genetics, Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.



A main challenge for targeting chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the heterogeneity of its causes, co-morbidities and outcomes. Patients under nephrological care represent an important reference population, but knowledge about their characteristics is limited.


We enrolled 5217 carefully phenotyped patients with moderate CKD [estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) 30-60 mL/min per 1.73 m(2) or overt proteinuria at higher eGFR] under routine care of nephrologists into the German Chronic Kidney Disease (GCKD) study, thereby establishing the currently worldwide largest CKD cohort.


The cohort has 60% men, a mean age (±SD) of 60 ± 12 years, a mean eGFR of 47 ± 17 mL/min per 1.73 m(2) and a median (IQR) urinary albumin/creatinine ratio of 51 (9-392) mg/g. Assessment of causes of CKD revealed a high degree of uncertainty, with the leading cause unknown in 20% and frequent suspicion of multifactorial pathogenesis. Thirty-five per cent of patients had diabetes, but only 15% were considered to have diabetic nephropathy. Cardiovascular disease prevalence was high (32%, excluding hypertension); prevalent risk factors included smoking (59% current or former smokers) and obesity (43% with BMI >30). Despite widespread use of anti-hypertensive medication, only 52% of the cohort had an office blood pressure <140/90 mmHg. Family histories for cardiovascular events (39%) and renal disease (28%) suggest familial aggregation.


Patients with moderate CKD under specialist care have a high disease burden. Improved diagnostic accuracy, rigorous management of risk factors and unravelling of the genetic predisposition may represent strategies for improving prognosis.


cardiovascular disease; chronic kidney disease; epidemiology; nephrology referral

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