Australian general practitioners’ current practice for chronic kidney disease (CKD) detection and management

Marie Ludlow, Timothy Mathew, Timothy Usherwood, Shanthi Ramanathan, Ivor Katz, Katherine Fawcett, David W Johnson


Guidelines for early detection of chronic kidney disease (CKD) emphasise regular testing of kidney health in high-risk individuals. However, evidence suggests that CKD is not being adequately detected or appropriately managed in primary care.

Assess Australian general practitioners’ (GP) current practice in relation to CKD detection and management.

This was a cross-sectional study utilising a random sample of GPs identified by interrogation of the national online telephone directory, and stratified by geographical location. Data collection occurred between October 2014 and January 2015. Of 2,815 eligible contacts, the final response rate was 23 per cent.

Of the 656 respondents, over 90 per cent assessed kidney health at least annually in people with diabetes or high blood pressure, and 71 per cent correctly assessed kidney health every 3–6 months in a patient with Stage 3b CKD. The tests most commonly used to assess kidney health were serum creatinine (with eGFR), blood pressure and urine albumin creatinine ratio. The most commonly reported CKD management strategies were ‘blood pressure reduction using pharmacological agents’ (81 per cent) and ‘glycaemic control if diabetes present’ (64 per cent). Knowledge testing highlighted that 32 per cent of respondents were not able to correctly identify how to properly assess absolute cardiovascular risk, and this was significantly more common in more experienced GPs (p=0.003).

The results indicate that Australian GPs are mainly practising in accordance with current guidelines for detection and management of patients with CKD, but with room for improvement in some areas.
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