Estimating glomerular filtration rate: comparison of the CKD-EPI and MDRD equations in a large UK cohort with particular emphasis on the effect of age

QJM. 2011 Oct;104(10):839-47. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcr077. Epub 2011 Jun 6.


Background: The chronic kidney disease (CKD)-Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) equation was developed to address the underestimation of measured glomerular filtration rate (GFR) by the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) equation at levels >60 mL/min/1.73 m(2).

Aim: To assess the impact of the CKD-EPI equation on the estimation of GFR in a large adult UK population (n = 561,400), particularly looking at the effect of age.

Design: Serum creatinine results (ID-MS-aligned enzymatic assay) were extracted from the pathology database during 1 year on adult (≥ 18 years) patients from primary care.

Methods: The first available creatinine result from 174,448 people was used to estimate GFR using both equations and agreement assessed.

Results: Median CKD-EPI GFR was significantly higher than median MDRD GFR (82 vs. 76 mL/min/1.73 m(2), P < 0.0001). Overall mean bias between CKD-EPI and MDRD GFR was 5.0%, ranging from 13.0% in the 18-29 years age group down to -7.5% in those aged ≥ 90 years. Although statistically significant at all age groups the difference diminished with age and the agreement in GFR category assignment increased. Age-adjusted population prevalence of CKD Stages 3-5 was lower by CKD-EPI than by MDRD (4.4% vs. 4.9%).

Conclusion: CKD-EPI produces higher GFR and lower CKD estimates, particularly among 18-59 year age groups with MDRD estimated GFRs of 45-59 mL/min/1.73 m(2) (Stage 3A). However, at ages >70 years there is very little difference between the equations, and among the very elderly CKD-EPI may actually increase CKD prevalence estimates.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / blood
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Algorithms
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cohort Studies
  • Creatinine / blood
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological*
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Creatinine