Impact of estimated glomerular filtration rate reporting on nephrology referrals: a review of the literature

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Purpose of reviewEstimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) reporting has been implemented by laboratories and jurisdictions around the world. The purpose of this review is to summarize the recent literature evaluating the association between eGFR reporting and outcomes, specifically assessing its impact on nephrology referrals and characteristics of the referred population.Recent findingsEight studies have evaluated the association between eGFR reporting and nephrology referrals, all published within the last 6 years. These studies consistently show an increase in referrals and referral rates following eGFR reporting. This increase in nephrology referrals was predominantly seen in women and the elderly. An increased referral rate and increased recognition of chronic kidney disease were noted amongst patients with stage 3 or higher kidney disease. Whether eGFR reporting results in an increase in ‘inappropriate’ referrals and increased resource use has been poorly studied.SummaryReporting of eGFR is associated with an increase in nephrology referrals, particularly among women and the elderly. Whether eGFR reporting is associated with improved patient outcomes remains to be determined.

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