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Estimated GFR Reporting Linked to Nephrologist Visits

In kidney disease patients, estimated glomerular filtration rate reporting tied to higher first-visit rate

TUESDAY, March 23 (HealthDay News) -- Laboratory reporting of estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is associated with a significant increase in first nephrologist visits, especially in some subgroups of patients, according to a study in the March 24/31 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Brenda R. Hemmelgarn, M.D., of the University of Calgary in Canada, and colleagues conducted a community-based cohort study of 1,135,968 patients from a laboratory registry in Alberta, Canada, who were followed up from May 15, 2003, to March 14, 2007.

After estimated GRF reporting was implemented on Oct. 15, 2004, the researchers found that the rate of first outpatient visits to a nephrologist for patients with chronic kidney disease increased by 68.4 percent. In patients without chronic kidney disease, however, they found no association between estimated GFR reporting and rate of first nephrologist visit. They found that women, patients ages 46 to 65 years, patients aged 86 years and older, and those with hypertension, diabetes and comorbidity accounted for most of the increase.

"The association with estimated GFR reporting and long-term patient outcomes, as well as economic consequences, remains to be determined," the authors conclude.

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