Schwartz formula: is one k-coefficient adequate for all children?

PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e53439. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053439. Epub 2012 Dec 28.


Background/objective: Plasma-creatinine-based equations to estimate the glomerular filtration rate are recommended by several clinical guidelines. In 2009, Schwartz et al. adapted the traditional Schwartz equation to children and adolescents but did not find different k-coefficients between children and adolescents (k = 36.5 for all patients). We reevaluated the coefficient of the 2009-Schwartz formula according to sex and age in a pediatric population.

Patients/methods: We used linear mixed-effects models to reestimate the 2009-Schwartz k-coefficient in 360 consecutive French subjects aged 1 to 18 years referred to a single centre between July 2003 and July 2010 (965 measurements). We assessed the agreement between the estimated glomerular filtration rate obtained with the new formula (called Schwartz-Lyon) and the rate measured by inulin clearance. We then compared this agreement to the one between the measured glomerular filtration rate and 2009-Schwartz formula, first in the French then in a Swedish cohort.

Results: In Schwartz-Lyon formula, k was estimated at 32.5 in boys <13 years and all girls and at 36.5 in boys aged ≥13 years. The performance of this formula was higher than that of 2009-Schwartz formula in children <13 years. This was first supported by a statistically significant reduction of the overestimation of the measured glomerular filtration rate in both cohorts, by better 10% and 30% accuracies, and by a better concordance correlation coefficient.

Conclusions: The performance and simplicity of Schwartz formula are strong arguments for its routine use in children and adolescents. The specific coefficient for children aged <13 years further improves this performance.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Female
  • France
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / blood
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Statistics as Topic / methods*
  • Sweden


  • Creatinine

Grant support

The work was supported by Hospices Civils de Lyon. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.