Discharging patients from the nephrology clinic to primary care--will they get appropriate monitoring of renal function?

QJM. 2009 Jun;102(6):425-8. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcp040. Epub 2009 Apr 17.


Background: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) guidelines have been produced to allow affected individuals to be identified early and managed more effectively, thereby reducing cardiovascular risk and slowing the progression of CKD. The guidelines allow patients with stable early CKD, who were previously followed in nephrology clinics, to be discharged back to primary care for monitoring of their CKD.

Aim: To determine if patients discharged from the nephrology clinic have appropriate monitoring of renal function in primary care according to the UK CKD guidelines, and if patients are being referred back to the clinic appropriately.

Methods: All patients discharged from a weekly satellite unit general nephrology clinic over a 2-year period were identified (n = 160). Clinic letters, the local laboratory system and direct contact with the general practice were used to determine if the timing of tests of renal function were consistent with the UK CKD guidelines.

Results: Most subjects (88%) had CKD Stages 1-3 at the time of discharge (i.e. eGFR > 30 ml/min). After exclusion of patients with an incomplete management plan or insufficient time since discharge (n = 50), 85% of eligible patients (n = 110) had at least one measure of eGFR after discharge. In 65% (n = 84) of these patients, measurement occurred within 1 month of the correct timing according to the guidelines. Four patients were re-referred appropriately. There were no other patients who should have been re-referred due to deteriorating renal function.

Conclusion: Patients with stable early CKD get appropriate monitoring of renal function after discharge from the nephrology clinic to primary care and are also referred back to the renal clinic appropriately.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Continuity of Patient Care / organization & administration
  • Continuity of Patient Care / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Kidney Function Tests / standards*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrology / organization & administration
  • Nephrology / standards
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration
  • Primary Health Care / standards*
  • Young Adult