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Geriatric Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease May Not Be Treated Properly

Research points out that elderly population may not be checked regularly for chronic kidney disease// (CKD) that can be a common condition in them.

Researchers from Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston had reported in the recent issue of Journal of the American Society of Nephrology that there remained a lack of preventive routines and screening test recommendations for the geriatric patients with this health condition.

The researchers had collected data on nearly 2,500 elderly Medicare recipients with CKD who eventually required dialysis to replace lost kidney function. Records were reviewed to evaluate the patients' routine medical care in the two years before they started dialysis.

The results showed important shortcomings in general health and CKD care. Many diabetic patients with CKD did not receive routine tests to detect other diabetes complications—one-third had no eye examinations during the 2-year study period, while another one-third did not have their cholesterol and blood lipid levels checked. One-fourth of diabetic CKD patients did not undergo hemoglobin A1C testing to assess long-term diabetes control.

Rates of other key tests and preventive measures for CKD patients were low as well, including screening tests for various types of cancer. Just half of the CKD patients underwent recommended tests for anemia, while only 15 percent had testing of parathyroid hormone levels. Patients with CKD were actually less likely than non-CKD patients to receive vaccinations for influenza and pneumococcal infection.

Most CKD patients did not make more than two visits to a nephrologist (kidney specialist) during the two years before starting dialysis. Patients who did make regular nephrologist visits were more likely to receive recommended tests and treatments.

The reasons for the low rates of testing and preventive treatments are unknown—doctors may be unaware of the recommendations for CKD, or patie
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