Methodology used in studies reporting chronic kidney disease prevalence: a systematic literature review

Katharina Bruck*, Kitty J. Jager, Evangelia Dounousi, Alexander Kainz, Dorothea Nitsch, Johan Arnlov, Dietrich Rothenbacher, Gemma Browne, Vincenzo Capuano, Pietro Manuel Ferraro, Jean Ferrieres, Giovanni Gambaro, Idris Guessous, Stein Hallan, Mika Kastarinen, Gerjan Navis, Alfonso Otero Gonzalez, Luigi Palmieri, Solfrid Romundstad, Belinda SpotoBenedicte Stengel, Charles Tomson, Giovanni Tripepi, Henry Voelzke, Andrzej Wiecek, Ron Gansevoort, Ben Schoettker, Christoph Wanner, Jose Vinhas, Carmine Zoccali, Wim Van Biesen, Vianda S. Stel, European CKD Burden Consortium

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Many publications report the prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the general population. Comparisons across studies are hampered as CKD prevalence estimations are influenced by study population characteristics and laboratory methods.

Methods. For this systematic review, two researchers independently searched PubMed, MEDLINE and EMBASE to identify all original research articles that were published between 1 January 2003 and 1 November 2014 reporting the prevalence of CKD in the European adult general population. Data on study methodology and reporting of CKD prevalence results were independently extracted by two researchers.

Results. We identified 82 eligible publications and included 48 publications of individual studies for the data extraction. There was considerable variation in population sample selection. The majority of studies did not report the sampling frame used, and the response ranged from 10 to 87%. With regard to the assessment of kidney function, 67% used a Jaffe assay, whereas 13% used the enzymatic assay for creatinine determination. Isotope dilution mass spectrometry calibration was used in 29%. The CKD-EPI (52%) and MDRD (75%) equations were most often used to estimate glomerular filtration rate (GFR). CKD was defined as estimated GFR (eGFR)

Conclusions. The findings from this systematic review showed considerable variation in methods for sampling the general population and assessment of kidney function across studies reporting CKD prevalence. These results are utilized to provide recommendations to help optimize both the design and the reporting of future CKD prevalence studies, which will enhance comparability of study results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-16
Number of pages11
JournalNephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2015


  • CKD
  • CKD-EPI equation
  • epidemiology
  • MDRD
  • systematic review

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