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

sease applies to asymptomatic patients without risk factors."

The statement does acknowledge that there is evidence to support screening of high-risk groups, Singh added.

"The real message is that, sadly, we have only a limited toolbox of interventions to prevent progression of kidney disease once we identify someone with chronic kidney disease. Yes, we can debate who should or should not be screened, but what we really need are better interventions," Singh said.

Another expert, Dr. David Roth, clinical director of the division of nephrology and hypertension at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, added that "the evidence is not there that large-scale screening of asymptomatic patients, especially elderly patients, is going to change the outcome for that patient."

Roth agreed that people in high-risk populations, such as those with diabetes and/or high blood pressure, and blacks, should be screened.

"Kidney disease tends to be a silent disease until it's in much more advanced stages. For years, one can have kidney disease and not have a clue, and you can lose a great percentage of kidney function before it's finally picked up," Roth said.

Because most people lose kidney function with age, Roth thinks mass screening of healthy people would find a lot of kidney disease, but that would only worry people and wouldn't change their medical care.

A study published in the April 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine came to the same conclusion.

In that study, researchers said that whether screening and monitoring people in the earlier stages of the disease provides a benefit just isn't clear.

More information

For more on kidney disease, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Joy Melnikow, M.D., M.P.H., director, Center for Healthcare Policy and Research, and p
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