Chronic kidney disease testing among at-risk adults in the U.S. remains low: Real-world evidence from a national laboratory database

David Alfego, Jennifer Ennis, Barbara Gillespie, Mary Jane Lewis, Elizabeth Montgomery, Silvia Ferrè, Joseph A. Vassalotti, Stanley Letovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE An estimated 37 million Americans have chronic kidney disease (CKD). Nearly 90% do not know about their condition because of low awareness about the importance of CKD testing and diagnosis among practitioners and people at risk for CKD. This study uses data from a national clinical laboratory to identify guideline-recommended CKD testing rates across the U.S. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Patients with Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (Labcorp) testing between 2013 and 2019 were defined as at risk for CKD if they had any testing ordered with diagnosis codes for diabetes and/or hypertension. Guideline-concordant CKD assessment was defined by estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and urine albuminto-creatinine ratio (uACR) testing within the study year. RESULTS We identified 28,295,982 at-risk patients (mean age 60.6 ± 14.8 years; 53.6% women): 16.2% had diabetes, 63.8% had hypertension, and 20.1% had both comorbidities. Of these, 80.3% did not receive guideline-concordant assessment during the study period. Furthermore, only 21.0% had uACR testing versus 89.6% with eGFR. CKD assessment occurred at least once in 28.7% of patients with diabetes, 10.5% of patients with hypertension, and 41.4% of patients with both conditions. In a state-by-state comparison, annual testing rates ranged from 5 to 30%. The nationwide rate increased modestly each year between 2013 and 2018 (from 10.7% to 15.2%). CONCLUSIONS Despite guideline recommendations, testing for CKD with uACR and eGFR in U.S. adults with diabetes and hypertension is low in routine clinical care. These data highlight the need for strategies to improve routine CKD assessment nationwide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2025-2032
Number of pages8
JournalDiabetes Care
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2021


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