Bias and precision of estimated glomerular filtration rate in children

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Determining true glomerular filtration rate (GFR) using an exogenous marker is time-consuming and cumbersome. Therefore, creatinine-based estimates of GFR are used. Recent papers using new population-specific/local parameters in their prediction equations, standardizing creatinine determination or adding other endogenous surrogate markers of GFR, like cystatin C, could demonstrate an improvement of bias inherent in the results of the prediction equations. Precision, however, is still poor. Currently, we have to accept a precision (as defined in the so-called Bland-Altman plot) of ±20% in adults and ±30-40% in children. This problem of poor precision/uncertainty is especially bothering in the higher, near normal GFR range. Caution should be exercised when applying prediction equations in individuals in need of an accurate GFR determination. In that case, a real clearance procedure has to be performed. In the long run, the true clearance procedure should be simplified using new exogenous GFR markers and developing new devices, allowing GFR measurements to be performed, for example, transcutaneously. Such a procedure would be more acceptable for both patients and physicians.

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