Kidney failure is a public health crisis that affects approximately 37 million adults in the United States and can lead to renal failure. About 90% of people with the disease don’t even know they have it until it has reached the critical advanced stages. People of Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native American or Alaskan Native, Asian American, Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander descent are all at increased risk of developing the disease. For example, blacks or African Americans make up 13% of the US population, but account for 35% of people with kidney failure, on dialysis or kidney transplants.
A joint task force was formed between the NKF and the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) to evaluate various approaches that would eliminate race from the old equation. The working group recommended the adoption of the new eGFR 2021 CKD-EPI creatinine equation without racial variable as well as increased use of cystatin C combined with serum (blood) creatinine, as a confirmatory assessment of GFR or renal function. The NKF and ASN assert that race is a social construct, not a biological one, so using race as a factor in estimating kidney function is not an acceptable approach. This shift in approach reflects a broader call to re-examine institutional policies and practices and identify potential areas of health inequities and disparities.
“We are committed to seeing all laboratories and healthcare providers standardize the use of this race-free approach, an approach the NKF-ASN Joint Task Force has worked on together for 10 months with considerable input from hundreds of patients and family members, student and trainee physicians, clinicians, scientists, healthcare professionals and other public actors,” said Kevin Longino, NKF CEO and kidney transplant patient. “While this new equation is only a first step in addressing the health inequities present in healthcare today, this new race-free equation provides an unbiased and standardized approach for all health labs. United States to diagnose kidney disease.
A Laboratory Engagement Initiative Task Force comprised of NKF in collaboration with the American Society of Clinical Pathology, the laboratory community, and clinical laboratory societies has developed content and tools aimed at advancing a diagnosis kidney disease earlier and urged improved kidney disease lab tests.
“We appreciate how quickly the Lab Engagement Initiative task force developed the tools needed to help labs implement this new race-free approach to calculating eGFR,” said the Medical Director. of the NKF. Joseph Vassalotti, MD. “Through health services research, we know that health care inequities in historically disadvantaged communities begin long before kidney disease develops.
As HEAC celebrates its first anniversary, this 13-member team continues to support, lead and advocate for NKF’s health equity, community health and social justice initiatives through research, education and key partnerships. This committee has worked collaboratively throughout the year with kidney patients, other NKF committees, as well as board members and NKF staff to advise on the design, implementation and evaluation of numerous programs that support stronger and healthier communities. Some of HEAC’s achievements throughout the year include:
- Identify expanded professional development and research opportunities for underrepresented healthcare professionals and create the NKF Kidney Health Equity Community Engagement Award for healthcare professionals, researchers, and multidisciplinary teams seeking to improve access to kidney care, kidney disease management and patient outcomes, especially in historically disadvantaged communities.
- Identify opportunities to support and advance health equity research in nephrology;
- Assist in networking as needed with other experts, companies, government agencies and potential funders, and finally;
- Review and edit documents and educational materials submitted by NKF staff or volunteers to ensure accuracy, validity and cultural sensitivity of content.
NKF encourages all Americans to stay informed about how to achieve optimal kidney health and if you have kidney disease and identify as Black or African American, please ask your doctor about the new race-free approach to determine your level of kidney function. Join the conversation on social media during Black History Month using the hashtag #blackhistorymonth.
To learn more about NKF, kidney disease, or the new race-free GFR estimation method, go to https://www.kidney.org/kidney-basics.
About Kidney Disease
In United Statesan estimated 37 million adults have kidney disease, also known as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and approximately 90% are unaware they have it. 1 in 3 adults in the United States is at risk for kidney disease. Risk factors for kidney disease include: Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and family history. People of Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American/Alaska Native, Asian American, or Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander ancestry are at increased risk of developing the disease. Blacks/African Americans are more than 3 times more likely than whites to have kidney failure. Hispanics/Latinos are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanics to have kidney failure.
About the National Kidney Foundation
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and oldest patient-centered organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the United States. For more information on NKF, visit www.kidney.org.
SOURCE The National Kidney Foundation