Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a disorder that is characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over time. Typically, the diagnosis is made either by albuminuria — protein in the urine— or, most commonly, based on glomerular filtration rate (GFR) — a measure of decreased kidney function (usually less than 60 for three months).
The two most common underlying disorders that lead to CKD are diabetes and hypertension, together representing about two-thirds of cases. CKD leads to significant morbidity and mortality; in fact, cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in CKD patients. With early detection and appropriate treatment, the progression of the disease can be slowed — not reversed, but slowed. This is important because otherwise many of these patients progress to end stage renal disease (ESRD), which requires dialysis or kidney transplant.
High incidence and prevalence of CKD
It’s estimated that approximately 26 million people in the United States have CKD, including about 40% of diabetics. Nearly half of the Medicare population — people over the age of 65 — have CKD. And an estimate of the risk over a lifetime for a group of 30 – 49 year olds in the US is more than half, meaning that this group has a risk greater than half of developing CKD in their lifetime. Numbers like these put CKD at near-epidemic levels in terms of the overall burden in the United States and other countries, driven in large part by diabetes and hypertension.
Significant morbidity and mortality
Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading issues, but pharmaceuticals are a problem, as well. Because many drugs are metabolized in the kidneys, patients with decreased kidney function are at very high risk for medical errors, largely due to pharmaceutical dosing. Adverse drug events can also occur due to acute kidney injury, on top of the chronic disease. Anemia, bone disorders, and nervous systems problems related to malnutrition are also big concerns.
Economic burden on Medicare and private payers
If we look at Medicare in 2010, spending on ESRD alone was $33 billion. If you add chronic kidney disease, it’s $48 billion. As you can see, this is a major problem for Medicare, as well as for private payers.
A new solution results in significant savings
A new CKD predictive analytics program employs a globally validated algorithm for accurately predicting which patients will progress to ESRD. Estimates show that by employing such a program, an organization can generate about $2 million in savings for a population of 25,000 covered lives. Learn about the program and hear from the algorithm’s creator, Dr. Navdeep Tangri, in an on-demand webinar: Revolutionizing Renal Care with Predictive Analytics for CKD.