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Reassessing the inclusion of race in diagnosing kidney diseases: An interim report from the nkf-asn task force

American Journal of Kidney Diseases July 1, 2021

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For almost 2 decades, equations that use serum creatinine, age, sex, and race to estimate glomerular filtration rate (GFR) have included “race” as Black or non-Black. Given considerable evidence of disparities in health and health care delivery in African American communities, some regard keeping a race term in GFR equations as a practice that differentially influences access to care and kidney transplantation. Others assert that race captures important non-GFR determinants of serum creatinine and its removal from the calculation may perpetuate other disparities. The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and American Society of Nephrology (ASN) established a task force in 2020 to reassess the inclusion of race in the estimation of GFR in the United States and its implications for diagnosis and subsequent management of patients with, or at risk for, kidney diseases. This interim report details the process, initial assessment of evidence, and values defined regarding the use of race to estimate GFR. We organized activities in phases: (1) clarify the problem and examine evidence, (2) evaluate different approaches to address use of race in GFR estimation, and (3) make recommendations. In phase 1, we constructed statements about the evidence and defined values regarding equity and disparities; race and racism; GFR measurement, estimation, and equation performance; laboratory standardization; and patient perspectives. We also identified several approaches to estimate GFR and a set of attributes to evaluate these approaches. Building on evidence and values, the attributes of alternative approaches to estimate GFR will be evaluated in the next phases and recommendations will be made.


Intramural Center for Disease Control