Context: The prevalence and incidence of kidney failure treated by dialysis and transplantation in the United States have increased from 1988 to 2004. Whether there have been changes in the prevalence of earlier stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD) during this period is uncertain.
Objective: To update the estimated prevalence of CKD in the United States.
Design, setting, and participants: Cross-sectional analysis of the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES 1988-1994 and NHANES 1999-2004), a nationally representative sample of noninstitutionalized adults aged 20 years or older in 1988-1994 (n = 15,488) and 1999-2004 (n = 13,233).
Main outcome measures: Chronic kidney disease prevalence was determined based on persistent albuminuria and decreased estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Persistence of microalbuminuria (>30 mg/g) was estimated from repeat visit data in NHANES 1988-1994. The GFR was estimated using the abbreviated Modification of Diet in Renal Disease Study equation reexpressed to standard serum creatinine.
Results: The prevalence of both albuminuria and decreased GFR increased from 1988-1994 to 1999-2004. The prevalence of CKD stages 1 to 4 increased from 10.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 9.2%-10.9%) in 1988-1994 to 13.1% (95% CI, 12.0%-14.1%) in 1999-2004 with a prevalence ratio of 1.3 (95% CI, 1.2-1.4). The prevalence estimates of CKD stages in 1988-1994 and 1999-2004, respectively, were 1.7% (95% CI, 1.3%-2.2%) and 1.8% (95% CI, 1.4%-2.3%) for stage 1; 2.7% (95% CI, 2.2%-3.2%) and 3.2% (95% CI, 2.6%-3.9%) for stage 2; 5.4% (95% CI, 4.9%-6.0%) and 7.7% (95% CI, 7.0%-8.4%) for stage 3; and 0.21% (95% CI, 0.15%-0.27%) and 0.35% (0.25%-0.45%) for stage 4. A higher prevalence of diagnosed diabetes and hypertension and higher body mass index explained the entire increase in prevalence of albuminuria but only part of the increase in the prevalence of decreased GFR. Estimation of GFR from serum creatinine has limited precision and a change in mean serum creatinine accounted for some of the increased prevalence of CKD.
Conclusions: The prevalence of CKD in the United States in 1999-2004 is higher than it was in 1988-1994. This increase is partly explained by the increasing prevalence of diabetes and hypertension and raises concerns about future increased incidence of kidney failure and other complications of CKD.