Background: Variations in the timing of dialysis initiation may explain some geographical variations in renal replacement therapy (RRT) incidence, but this effect has never been quantified.
Methods: Using data from the French Renal Epidemiology and Information Network registry, we quantified the association between RRT incidence in 2006-07 and median estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) values before starting dialysis at the administrative district level with geographically appropriate methods.
Results: Crude RRT incidence varied from 80.4 to 238.6 pmi between administrative districts, and median eGFR at dialysis initiation from 5.9 to 11.8 ml/min/1.73 m(2). Age- and sex-adjusted RRT incidence, associated with a 1.2-ml/min/1.73m(2) increase in median eGFR, rose 8% (4-13%) before and 9% (5-13%) after controlling for the effect of nine potential socioeconomic and medical risk factors.
Conclusion: The impact of increased eGFR at initiation should be taken into account in guidelines recommending earlier dialysis start.