Background and objectives: The objective of this study was to compare random urine albumin-creatinine ratio (ACR) with timed urine albumin excretion rate (AER) in patients with type 1 diabetes.
Design, setting, participants, & measurements: A total of 1186 participants in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (DCCT/EDIC) Study provided spot urine specimens concurrent with 4-hour timed urine collections. ACR and AER were compared using Bland-Altman plots, cross-classification of albuminuria status and its change over time, and within-person variability.
Results: Despite moderate correlation (r=0.62), ACR levels (mg/g) were lower than AER levels (mg/24 hr). This difference was greatest for men. Gender-specific estimated AER (eAER) values were empirically derived from ACR. Comparing the eAER with measured AER, agreement of prevalent microalbuminuria and macroalbuminuria classification was fair to moderate, and classification of change in albuminuria status over time was different. Intraclass correlations were 0.697 for ACR and 0.803 for AER. Effects of DCCT intensive versus conventional diabetes therapy on urine albumin excretion or classification of albuminuria were similar using the eAER versus measured AER, as were the effects of the previous glycosylated hemoglobin.
Conclusions: Systematic differences exist between urine ACR and AER, related to gender and other determinants of muscle mass. Use of ACR (or eAER) versus AER yields differences in classification of prevalent albuminuria states and changes in albuminuria states over time. These findings support the use of consistent ascertainment methods over time and further efforts to standardize and optimally interpret measurement of urine albumin excretion.