Background: Chronic renal failure (CRF) is a debilitating condition responsible for high morbidity and mortality and is a financial burden on government and society. Because of its costs and the complexity of its treatment, proper care is available to very few patients in India. A community-based study has not been done to determine the prevalence of CRF in India.
Methods: We used a multi-stage cluster sampling method in the South Zones of Delhi. In each area, we first contacted the local social leader and explained the study and the medical information pamphlets. On pre-scheduled days, the study team canvassed the study zone. The individuals contacted responded to a detailed questionnaire, and had a physical examination, a dipstick urine test for albumin and sugar and a blood test for serum creatinine. A serum creatinine >1.8 mg% defined renal failure. A repeat test for serum creatinine was done after 8-12 weeks to confirm chronicity of renal failure. If it was >1.8 mg% after 3 months in the absence of reversible factors, CRF was diagnosed. The person found to have CRF was asked to attend a hospital renal clinic for further investigations and individualized management.
Results: A total of 4972 persons were contacted for the study. Their mean age was 42+/-13 years; 56% were males. Out of the 4972 who were initially approached, 4712 agreed to give the blood sample, and thus were included for the evaluation of CRF. CRF was found in 37 of them. Thus, the prevalence of CRF in that adult population was 0.785% or 7852/million.
Conclusions: The prevalence of CRF in India makes it a serious problem in need of urgent efforts to contain it.