Benefits of kidney disease screening, monitoring unproven

Posted April 30, 2012

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Scientists suspect screening and monitoring for chronic kidney disease allows for earlier treatment and better outcomes, but research in the area is scarce, says an April 17 Annals of Internal Medicine report.

Early-stage chronic kidney disease­, defined as the first three stages of the disease, affects 11% of U.S. adults 20 and older, and is associated with comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, said the report (link).

The authors reviewed randomized, controlled trials from 1985 to Nov. 25, 2011, but found none showing direct evidence of the benefits of screening or monitoring for the disease. They did, however, find evidence that early-stage kidney disease patients benefit from several treatments, such as use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers.

Federal kidney disease screening guidelines are unlikely to be issued as a result, but physicians should use “clinical experience and common sense” in determining whether to screen patients at risk of developing the disease, says an accompanying editorial (link).

Note: This item originally appeared at

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