Background: End-stage renal disease is epidemic within the United States among certain high-risk groups. The National Kidney Disease Education Program examined the awareness of chronic kidney disease (CKD) risk factors among primary care physicians who treat high-risk populations, such as African Americans, persons with diabetes, persons with hypertension, and family members of dialysis patients.
Methods: We conducted a survey of 465 primary care physicians in 4 communities with high-risk populations. Respondents were asked to score 9 potential CKD risk factors on a 4-point scale graded from "Does not increase risk at all" to "Increases risk greatly." Potential risk factors included African-American race, diabetes, hypertension, and family history of CKD.
Results: Respondents saw a mean of 414 +/- 222 (SD) patients/mo. Primary care physicians were more likely to report that diabetes and hypertension were significant risk factors for CKD. Conversely, 34.4% did not consider family history of kidney disease to increase the risk for CKD, and 22% of respondents did not consider African-American race a CKD risk factor.
Conclusion: Primary care physicians need targeted education to increase awareness of populations at high risk for CKD.