Two novel equations to estimate kidney function in persons aged 70 years or older

Ann Intern Med. 2012 Oct 2;157(7):471-81. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-157-7-201210020-00003.


Background: In older adults, current equations to estimate glomerular filtration rate (GFR) are not validated and may misclassify elderly persons in terms of their stage of chronic kidney disease.

Objective: To derive the Berlin Initiative Study (BIS) equation, a novel estimator of GFR in elderly participants.

Design: Cross-sectional. Data were split for analysis into 2 sets for equation development and internal validation.

Setting: Random community-based population of a large insurance company.

Participants: 610 participants aged 70 years or older (mean age, 78.5 years).

Intervention: Iohexol plasma clearance measurement as gold standard.

Measurements: GFR, measured as the plasma clearance of the endogenous marker iohexol, to compare performance of existing equations of estimated GFR with measured GFR of the gold standard; estimation of measured GFR from standardized creatinine and cystatin C levels, sex, and age in the learning sample; and comparison of the BIS equations (BIS1: creatinine-based; BIS2: creatinine- and cystatin C-based) with other estimating equations and determination of bias, precision, and accuracy in the validation sample.

Results: The new BIS2 equation yielded the smallest bias followed by the creatinine-based BIS1 and Cockcroft-Gault equations. All other equations considerably overestimated GFR. The BIS equations confirmed a high prevalence of persons older than 70 years with a GFR less than 60 mL/min per 1.73 m2 (BIS1, 50.4%; BIS2, 47.4%; measured GFR, 47.9%). The total misclassification rate for this criterion was smallest for the BIS2 equation (11.6%), followed by the cystatin C equation 2 (15.1%) proposed by the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration. Among the creatinine-based equations, BIS1 had the smallest misclassification rate (17.2%), followed by the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration equation (20.4%).

Limitation: There was no validation by an external data set.

Conclusion: The BIS2 equation should be used to estimate GFR in persons aged 70 years or older with normal or mild to moderately reduced kidney function. If cystatin C is not available, the BIS1 equation is an acceptable alternative.

Primary funding source: Kuratorium für Dialyse und Nierentransplatation (KfH) Foundation of Preventive Medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cystatin C / blood
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate*
  • Humans
  • Iohexol / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mathematical Concepts
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / blood
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / physiopathology*


  • Biomarkers
  • Cystatin C
  • Iohexol
  • Creatinine