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J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2015 Nov-Dec;36(9):734-42. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000221.

Executive Functioning in Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults with Chronic Kidney Disease.

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*University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC; †The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA; ‡The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; §Nemours/A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, DE.



To compare behavior ratings of executive functioning in individuals with chronic kidney disease (CKD), using the Behavior Rating Inventory for Executive Functions (BRIEF), with a typically developing comparison group and to examine the correlation between disease severity and ratings of executive functioning.


Participants included 92 individuals with CKD (eGFR < 90 mL/min per 1.73 m), aged 8 to 25 years, recruited from nephrology clinics in both hospital and community settings. The disease severity ranged from CKD Stage II to V. The BRIEF was completed by parents for individuals younger than 18 years of age and the BRIEF-Adult was completed by individuals who were older than 18.


For individuals with CKD younger than 18 years of age, the parent-reported BRIEF revealed significant group differences when compared with controls on the Metacognition Index and the individual scales of Initiate, Working Memory, and Plan/Organize. A large proportion of individuals with CKD were rated as being at-risk for executive dysfunction. For the individuals of 18 years of age and older, there were no significant group differences. The relationship between BRIEF ratings and disease severity was limited to a few scales across both versions of the BRIEF.


This study supported the presence of executive dysfunction through a parent report, although the level of impairment was mild and its association with disease severity was related to select executive functions. Few difficulties were reported by older adolescents and young adults with CKD. It will be important for developmental-behavioral pediatricians to be cognizant of the level and pattern of executive function capabilities in their patients with CKD, and possible discrepancies with parent reports, so as to facilitate their management and transition planning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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