Chronic kidney disease: issues and establishing programs and clinics for improved patient outcomes

Am J Kidney Dis. 2003 May;41(5):903-24. doi: 10.1016/s0272-6386(03)00188-4.


The spectrum of chronic kidney disease (CKD) extends from the point at which there is slight kidney damage, but normal function, to the point at which patients require either a renal transplant or renal replacement therapy to survive. Epidemiological studies suggest there are approximately 20,000,000 patients with various stages of CKD. These patients have many comorbidities, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, anemia, nutritional and metabolic derangements, and fluid overload. Unfortunately, evidence shows that current CKD care in the United States is suboptimal, and late referral to a nephrologist is often the rule and not the exception. Roles of primary care physicians (PCPs) and nephrologists in the care of patients with CKD remain undefined. Several studies have suggested that care provided by multidisciplinary nephrology teams can improve patient outcomes. Currently, there are published evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for anemia management, nutritional therapy, and vascular access placement, with other CKD guidelines under development. The intent of this review includes providing compelling evidence for earlier screening, identification, and management of patients with CKD; showing that current CKD care is suboptimal; encouraging the development of multidisciplinary teams that provide collaborative care to patients with CKD, suggesting roles for PCPs and nephrologists in the care of these patients; describing CKD initiatives from national organizations; and providing a comprehensive checklist that can guide the development of CKD clinics and programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / classification
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Nephrology
  • Patient Care Management*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Physician's Role
  • Physicians, Family
  • Prevalence
  • Referral and Consultation