Iohexol plasma clearance for measuring glomerular filtration rate: effect of different ways to calculate the area under the curve

BMC Nephrol. 2021 May 5;22(1):166. doi: 10.1186/s12882-021-02376-0.


Background: Measuring glomerular filtration rate (GFR) using iohexol plasma clearance has been proposed as the preferred way for GFR determination. The extended multiple-sample protocol is based on fitting the full concentration-time decay-curve, and from the obtained fit-parameters, the area under the curve (AUC) and GFR (the injected dose divided by the AUC) were calculated. The goal of the current study is to evaluate the impact of different fitting procedures on the precision of GFR-results obtained from the full concentration-time curve, and compare these results with those obtained with simplified multiple-samples and single-sample protocols.

Methods: The concentration-time curves of 8 samples at times 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, 180, 240 and 300 min after bolus injection of iohexol of 570 adults, aged 70+, from the Berlin Initiative Study (BIS), were analysed. The fit-parameters for the two-compartment model (double-exponential decay curve), and from these, the AUC and GFR were obtained with 8 different fitting procedures.

Results: The two-compartmental non-linear least squares fitting procedure showed the best accuracy (541 out of 570 reported GFR-results were within 5% of the majority of the 8 fitting methods). The two-compartmental slope-intercept fitting procedure was not always applicable and the non-compartmental fitting procedures did not always allow to calculate the GFR. All correction formulas for the simplified late multiple-samples methods showed acceptable accuracy and precision with a preference for Ng's correction formula (Lin's CCC = 0.992, bias = 0.5 ± 2.5). Jacobsson's iterative method was the best one-sample method, with Lin's CCC = 0.983 and bias = - 0.6 ± 3.4.

Conclusion: The fitting procedure has an important impact on the precision of the calculated AUC and GFR. The simplified late-sample protocols and one-sample methods did not suffer from fitting problems and showed acceptable equivalence when compared to the full compartment GFR-results.

Trial registration: The "Berlin Initiative Study" is officially registered with the German Register for Clinical Studies ("Deutschen Register Klinischer Studien"(DRKS)) under registration number DRKS00017058 , since April 12, 2019, and it is also visible on the WHO clinical trials registry platform (within the next 4 weeks after the registration date).

Keywords: Iohexol plasma clearance; Measured GFR; Multiple samples; One sample.

MeSH terms

  • Area Under Curve
  • Contrast Media / pharmacokinetics*
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate*
  • Humans
  • Iohexol / pharmacokinetics*
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate


  • Contrast Media
  • Iohexol