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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Research endorses national standard for assessment of kidney function in Indigenous Australians

Date posted: 24 September 2012

A new Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) study has backed the nation's standard kidney function test for Indigenous Australians, deeming it accurate and valid.

An accurate measurement of kidney function is critical to Indigenous health outcomes, as the incidence of end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) is up to 15 times higher in Indigenous than it is in non-Indigenous Australians. At the end of 2008, more than 1,300 Indigenous Australians were receiving treatment for end-stage kidney disease (7.4% of the 17,604 Australians receiving treatment).

In August this year, the Australasian Creatinine Consensus Group recommended a new formula called CKD-EPI serve as the nation's standard kidney function test, known as eGFR. However concern has been raised that eGFR may be an inappropriate measure because Indigenous Australians have a different body build to non-Indigenous Australians. To validate the test for this population, Menzies tested 600 Indigenous Australians and 100 non-Indigenous Australians in five regions across Northern Australia. This included Queensland's Far North, Western Australia's Kimberley and Kalgoorlie regions and the Northern Territory's Top End and Central Australia.

Menzies' four year study was recently published in the prestigious American Journal of Kidney Disease. Chief Investigator and Menzies' Diabetes specialist Dr Louise Maple-Brown said the results showed that the CKD-EPI formula for eGFR is robust.

'The study came out in support of the kidney function test known as CKD-EPI eGFR, and found it to be an accurate and reliable test of kidney function in Indigenous Australians, similar to reports that it is accurate and reliable in non-Indigenous Australians'. 'In particular, our results show that CKD-EPI measures kidney function in healthy Indigenous people more precisely, and we have reported that the previous test known as MDRD formula was underestimating kidney function for this group by an average of 10%, so that's a positive outcome'. 'We can now more accurately track the progression of kidney disease, and health care providers can use the kidney function test across Australia with confidence'. said Dr Maple-Brown.

Source: Menzies School of Health Research



Last updated: 24 September 2012
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