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Routine Kidney Disease Screening Not Worthwhile, Experts Say
Date:4/30/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- As many as one in 10 Americans have chronic kidney disease, but most don't know it and for most it is not a problem, experts say.

However, there has been debate about whether healthy people should be screened for the condition. Now, a statement released Monday by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) says no.

"The evidence is insufficient to make a definitive recommendation about whether or not it's effective to screen healthy people for chronic kidney disease," said committee chairwoman Dr. Joy Melnikow, director of the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research at the University of California, Davis. "I was surprised how little evidence there was about screening healthy people."

There were no studies of the effectiveness of the blood or urine tests for creatinine, a marker of kidney function, in identifying who has chronic kidney disease, Melnikow said.

"In addition, we don't know if we intervene in healthy people with chronic kidney disease, if intervention would change its course," she noted.

Most chronic kidney disease is mild and asymptomatic, Melnikow said. "The rate of chronic kidney disease increases with age and, fortunately, for most people it doesn't affect them. But, in some people, it progresses to serious chronic disease, which can require dialysis," she explained.

The USPSTF statement also calls for studies on identifying and treating chronic kidney disease, she added.

"This statement only relates to screening healthy people, not to those at high risk for kidney disease such as people with diabetes or high blood pressure," Melnikow stressed.

Dr. Ajay Singh, clinical chief of the renal division and director of dialysis at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said that "the key point that the USPSTF makes is that their recommendation of not screening patients for chronic kidney di
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