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Large Disparities in Kidney Testing Based on Disease, Gender and State, Quest Diagnostics Health Trends(TM) Report Finds
Date:3/12/2008

t result, approximately 19 percent had a result below 60 mL/min/1.73 m, a level indicative of impaired kidney function. The analysis determined the percentage of patients with eGFR values below 60 in tests conducted in November 2006 who also had a microalbumin test performed during the previous 12 months. The reported difference in testing rate between the diabetes and hypertension groups was statistically significant (p<0.001).

Diabetes affects 7 percent of the U.S. population and more than 21 percent of adults over age 60, while hypertension affects approximately 30 percent of American adults and more than half of those over age 60.

States Vary Widely in Compliance with CKD Testing Guidelines

The analysis also showed wide variability in microalbumin testing rates for patients with diabetes or hypertension by state. Testing in patients with diabetes ranged from a low of 13.0 percent in Iowa to a high of 61.4 percent in Massachusetts. For patients with hypertension, the percentage of tests ranged from a low of 0.5 percent in Iowa to a high of 26.3 percent in Utah. Patients with hypertension were tested less frequently than patients with diabetes -- at a rate of almost two to one -- in virtually every state assessed for the study.

"It is a concern that patients in some states are not getting appropriate care to manage this potentially life-threatening disease," said Joyce G. Schwartz, M.D., vice president and chief laboratory officer, Quest Diagnostics. "Even in those states that had higher testing rates, the percentage of patients receiving the microalbumin test overall is far lower than recommended."

Bias Against Women Found

The Quest Diagnostics Health Trends(TM) Report also found that even though more women were identified as having an early stage of CKD based on their eGFR value, they were less likely to receive a microalbumin test (31.1 percent for women compared with 34.3 percent of men). This bias toward ordering more
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SOURCE Quest Diagnostics Inc.
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