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NICE: Improved clarity for CKD diagnosis

An updated guidance on the diagnosis and treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD) has been released by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), after a review of current evidence.

The latest publication will provide a consistent method of testing for CKD, ensuring patients benefit from the correct diagnosis and treatment.

CKD is a relatively common long-term condition, affecting one in 10 people and results in loss-of-function of the kidneys.

Director of the centre for clinical practice at NICE, Professor Mark Baker said: “Chronic kidney disease often has no symptoms so can go undetected, potentially leading to serious health problems. Late presentation of people with kidney failure increases sickness and death and costs the NHS more. Figures suggest chronic kidney disease costs the NHS in England between £1.44 and £1.45 billion every year. These updated recommendations will enable doctors to make the correct diagnosis of CKD, and make sure that the right people get the right treatment for their condition.” 

The new recommendations will provide reassurance for doctors when diagnosing patients with CKD.

This comes after growing concerns that patients were being over-diagnosed with the condition in the past.

NICE advises that people are tested for CKD by detecting chemical markers in the blood, using tables to decipher whether a person should be diagnosed with the renal disorder.

They also suggest patients should be informed how to manage their own disease, providing information on exercise, diet and lowering blood pressure to reduce strain on the kidneys.

The kidney condition often arises as a result of, or, in conjunction with other conditions such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes.

There is an increased risk of developing CKD in patients with acute kidney injury (AKI), according to NICE's latest update.

Such individuals should be warned of this danger of developing the long-term disorder and monitored for 2-3 years after AKI, even if normal renal function is restored.