Growing Burden of Chronic Kidney Disease in the US

Awareness of chronic kidney disease remains low in the United States, yet the prevalence of the disease will rise over the next 15 years, according to a model developed by RTI.

Awareness of chronic kidney disease (CKD) remains low in the United States, yet the prevalence of the disease will rise over the next 15 years, according to a model developed by RTI.

The findings, published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, estimate that the number of adults age 30 years or older with CKD will increase from the current level of 13.2% to 16.7% in 2030.

"We were surprised by the high probability of developing CKD during a lifetime," Thomas Hoerger, PhD, health economist and senior fellow at RTI and the paper's lead author, said in a statement. "It's higher than most diseases that immediately jump to mind, and while the likelihood of chronic kidney disease progressing to complete kidney failure is much lower, CKD itself has been linked to a number of comorbidities and adverse health outcomes."

With residual lifetime incidence of CKD for adults aged 30-49 years, 50-64 years, and 65 years and older with no CKD at baseline is 54%, 52%, and 42%, respectively, which is higher than lifetime incidences of breast cancer in woman (12.5%) and diabetes (33%-38%), according to investigators.

Dr Hoerger hopes that the model developed by RTI will make policy makers aware of the growing issue of CKD. During the next several decades it is likely that nearly 10% of adults aged 30 to 64 years will develop stage 4 CKD and more than 3% will develop kidney failure.

The authors also found that as the prevalence of CKD rises, the impact will be felt not just by individual patients, but by the health system as a whole. In 2012, Medicare expenditures for kidney disease and kidney failure were already more than $87 million.

“From a national burden perspective, we estimate that the population prevalence of CKD will increase in coming decades, suggesting that development of interventions to slow CKD onset and progression should be considered,” the authors concluded.