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Research brief

For immediate use

Feb. 26, 2007

UNC researchers develop questionnaire
for predicting chronic kidney disease

CHAPEL HILL – A team led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers has developed a simple questionnaire to help identify individuals likely to have chronic kidney disease.

The questionnaire, and the study on which it is based, are reported in the Monday (Feb. 26) issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The questionnaire is online at: http://unchealthcare.org/site/newsroom/scored.pdf.

The research team examined a comprehensive set of demographic, clinical and medical history variables from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, which were conducted from 1999 to 2002. They identified nine key risk factors that could, when considered cumulatively, reliably predict chronic kidney disease: age, female gender, hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, proteinuria (an abnormal amount of protein in the urine) and anemia. 

These predictor variables were then incorporated into a simple questionnaire with a numeric scoring system. If an individual scores 4 points or higher, he or she has a 1 in 5 chance of having reduced kidney function and should be tested by a doctor. If an individual scores 0-3 points, he or she probably does not have kidney disease.

The researchers plan to test the questionnaire in several settings, including a community-based screening program. It is intended for use both by health care professionals and in public health initiatives and education programs. The questionnaire will be posted on medical information Web sites for public use, to make people more familiar with associated risk factors and to increase awareness of this serious condition.

Dr. Abhijit Kshirsagar, assistant professor in the UNC School of Medicine, is lead author of the study. Co-authors include Drs. Heejung Bang and Madhu Mazumdar of Weill Medical College of Cornell University; Drs. Suma Vupputuri and David A. Shoham of the UNC School of Public Health; and Drs. Philip J. Klemmer, Debbie Gipson, Romulo E. Colindres and Ronald J. Falk of the UNC Kidney Center in the UNC School of Medicine.

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UNC School of Medicine contact: Stephanie Crayton, (919) 966-2860 or scrayton@unch.unc.edu