Comparison of urinary albumin and urinary total protein as predictors of patient outcomes in CKD

Am J Kidney Dis. 2011 Jan;57(1):21-8. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2010.08.009. Epub 2010 Oct 16.


Background: Proteinuria is common and is associated with adverse patient outcomes. The optimal test of proteinuria to identify those at risk is uncertain. This study assessed albuminuria and total proteinuria as predictors of 3 patient outcomes: all-cause mortality, start of renal replacement therapy (RRT), and doubling of serum creatinine level.

Study design: Retrospective longitudinal cohort study.

Setting & participants: Nephrology clinic of a city hospital in Scotland; 5,586 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and proteinuria measured in random urine samples (n = 3,378) or timed urine collections (n = 1,808).

Predictors: Baseline measurements of albumin-creatinine ratio (ACR), total protein-creatinine ratio (PCR), 24-hour albuminuria, and total proteinuria.

Outcomes: All-cause mortality, start of RRT, and doubling of serum creatinine level were assessed using receiver operating characteristic curves and Cox proportional hazards models.

Measurements: Blood pressure, serum creatinine level, ACR, PCR, date of death, date of starting RRT.

Results: Patients were followed up for a median of 3.5 (25th-75th percentile, 2.1-6.0) years. For all outcomes, adjusted HRs were similar for PCR and ACR (derived from random urine samples and timed collections): death, 1.41 (95% CI, 1.31-1.53) vs 1.38 (95% CI, 1.28-1.50); RRT, 1.96 (95% CI, 1.76-2.18) vs 2.33 (95% CI, 2.06-3.01); and doubling of serum creatinine level, 2.03 (95% CI, 1.87-2.19) vs 1.92 (95% CI, 1.78-2.08). Receiver operating characteristic curves showed almost identical performance for ACR and PCR for the 3 outcome measures. Adjusted HRs for ACR and PCR were similar when derived from random urine samples or timed collections and compared with 24-hour total protein and albumin excretion for each outcome measure.

Limitations: This is a retrospective study.

Conclusions: Total proteinuria and albuminuria perform equally as predictors of renal outcomes and mortality in patients with CKD. ACR and PCR were as effective as 24-hour urine samples at predicting outcomes and are more convenient for patients, clinicians, and laboratories. Both ACR and PCR stratify risk in patients with CKD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Albuminuria / urine*
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proteinuria / urine*
  • ROC Curve
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / mortality*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / therapy
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / urine
  • Renal Replacement Therapy
  • Survival Analysis


  • Creatinine