Protocol for a randomized study assessing the feasibility of home-based albuminuria screening among the general population: The THOMAS study

Dominique van Mil, Lyanne M. Kieneker, Birgitte Evers-Roeten, Marc H.M. Thelen, Hanne de Vries, Marc H. Hemmelder, Annemiek Dorgelo, Ronald W. van Etten, Hiddo J.L. Heerspink, Ron T. Gansevoort*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a rising public health problem that may progress to kidney failure, requiring kidney replacement therapy. It is also associated with an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Because of its asymptomatic nature, CKD is often detected in a late stage. Population screening for albuminuria could allow early detection of people with CKD who may benefit from preventive treatment. In case such screening is performed in a general practitioner (GP) setting, this will result in relatively high costs. Home-based screening might be an effective and cost-effective alternative. Aim The THOMAS study (Towards HOMe-based Albuminuria Screening) is designed to prospectively investigate two methods for home-based population screening for increased albuminuria to detect yet undiagnosed CKD and risk factors for progression and CVD. Methods This investigator initiated, randomized population-based study will include 15.000 individuals aged 45–80 years, who will be randomly assigned to be invited for a home-based screening test for albuminuria with a more conventional urine collection device or an innovative smartphone application. If the test result is positive upon confirmation (i.e., elevated albuminuria), participants are invited to a central screening facility for an elaborate screening for CKD and CVD risk factors. Participants are referred to their GP for appropriate treatment, if abnormalities are found. Primary endpoints are the participation rate, yield, and cost-effectiveness of the home-based screening and elaborate screening. Conclusions The THOMAS study will evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of home-based albuminuria screening in the general population for the early detection of CKD and CVD risk factors. It will provide insight into the willingness to participate in population screening for CKD and into the compliance of the general population to a corresponding screening protocol and compliance to participate. Thus, it may help to develop an attractive novel screening strategy for the early detection of CKD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0279321
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 22-Dec-2022

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