Study: Physicians missing kidney disease diagnoses

A new study suggests that primary-care doctors may not be doing an especially good job of diagnosing chronic kidney disease, particularly among female patients.

Researchers led by Columbia University's Dr. Maya Rao, looked at records for about 900 patients at 18 rural, community-based primary-care clinics, screening them for information on how primary-care physicians diagnosed known kidney problems. They concluded that most PCPs used a creatinine test to measure kidney function.

The problem is, this test doesn't seem to do the job. Primary-care doctors ought to use serum creatinine to estimated kidney filtration rate (glomerular filtration rate) to develop a more accurate picture of kidney functioning, Dr. Rao said. This test is particularly important for women, who tend to have a lower glomerular filtration rate for the same level of serum creatinine.

Neglecting this step can lead to higher rates of kidney failure, which not only imposes terrible burdens on patients, but also proves very expensive for Medicare, researchers noted.

To learn more about the study:
- read this UPI piece

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