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New Tests Could Spot Which Kidney Patients Will Do the Worst
Date:4/11/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have come up with two new tests that seem better able to predict which patients with chronic kidney disease are more likely to progress to kidney failure and death.

This could help streamline care, getting those patients who need it most the care they need, while perhaps sparing other patients unnecessary interventions.

"The new markers provide us with an opportunity to address kidney disease prior to its terminal stage," said Dr. Ernesto P. Molmenti, vice chairman of surgery and director of the transplant program at the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in Manhasset, N.Y. "Such early treatment could provide for increased survival, as well as enhanced quality of life."

"The main problem right now is the tests we use currently just are not very good at identifying people's progressing to either more advanced kidney disease or end-stage kidney disease, so this has big implications in trying to determine who will progress," said Dr. Troy Plumb, interim chief of nephrology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

But, he added, "there are going to have to be validated clinical trials" before these new tests are introduced into clinical practice.

Both studies will appear in the April 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, but were released Monday to coincide with presentations at the World Congress of Nephrology, in Vancouver.

Some 23 million people in the United States have chronic kidney disease, which can often progress to kidney failure (making dialysis or a transplant necessary), and even death. But experts have no really good way to predict who will progress to more serious disease or when.

Right now, kidney function, or glomerular filtration rate (GFR), is based on measuring blood levels of creatinine, a waste product that is normally removed from
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