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In Europe, Research Finds Substantial Benefits of CKD Screening

By Navdeep Tangri, MD, PhD, FRCP

Two new studies released at the annual Congress of the European Renal Association offer more evidence for the benefits of targeted screening for chronic kidney disease (CKD). The new research confirms that for people at greatest risk for CKD – those with diabetes or hypertension –  early detection and effective treatment, slows or prevents progression to costly late stage CKD. The research also confirms the benefits of CKD screening for the significant and growing number of citizens of Europe at risk for cardiovascular events such as strokes, heart attacks and heart failure.

Utilizing data from the IMPACT CKD study, the first study highlighted the benefits of early screening for patients in high-risk populations and focused on resource-intensive renal replacement therapies, such as dialysis or transplantation. It also focused on cardiovascular events and mortality in Germany, Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Benefits included:

  • Earlier identification of patients with CKD.
  • Fewer cardiovascular events & lower rates of dialysis.
  • Higher survival rates.

The research revealed that more patients were diagnosed in earlier stages, and patients had lower rates of ultimately requiring dialysis treatments. Mortality rates also decreased. Screening for CKD has the potential to save and extend patients’ lives.

The second study again utilized the IMPACT CKD model to focus more specifically on cardiovascular events and healthcare costs across the same four countries.

The benefits of early CKD screening identified in this study included:

  • Fewer myocardial infarction events.
  • Fewer strokes.
  • Fewer hospitalizations for heart failure events.
  • Significant cost savings for the healthcare system.

Both studies reveal the immense value of early screening. It helps patients identify CKD early, begin treating the condition and reduce the risk of further severe health complications later in life.

This new research comes on the heels of an analysis released in April of data from the Impact CKD Study. This analysis shows that delays in diagnosing and treating chronic kidney disease are leading to adverse health, financial and environmental consequences, all of which are avoidable.

CKD presents a serious health burden in Europe, yet it isn’t a health system priority. As CKD rates rise, there are many strategies for early detection and intervention which can address the burden. But these strategies can only be effectively implemented if policymakers prioritize CKD.

Policymakers should join with the Global Patient Alliance for Kidney Health’s efforts to expand screening for chronic kidney disease. Early screening can make a serious difference for patients, providers and the broader healthcare system.

About the Author

Professor Tangri is a practicing physician in the Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine and Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba, Canada. He serves as Chair of the Medical Advisory Council of the Global Patient Alliance for Kidney Health.